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What Can You Do If Your Right Of Way Is Being Blocked?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

What is a right of way?

A right of way, or easement, gives one property’s occupant the authority to pass over another person’s land. Usually, a right of way to the property will be a pathway or a road/driveway which provides access to a property, however this can extend to light and air, running water and support. The person who uses the right of way is sometimes called a ‘dominant owner’.

What is a substantial interference?

If your right of way to your property is blocked in any way, this can cause inconvenience. However, to be able to take legal action against the person causing the inconvenience, the blockage must be a ‘substantial interference’.

To meet the definition of substantial interference, a dominant owner must be able to show the interference has more than a trivial impact on their enjoyment of the right.   The starting point is to obtain expert legal advice as case law varies on the subject.

Previous cases have shown that new a gate in place is not always enough to cause a substantial interference. However, if a gate is locked, and no key is provided for access, this would certainly be a substantial interference.

Previous cases have also found that building works will not necessarily amount to substantial interference if the right of access can still be exercised conveniently.   Another example of substantial interference is having a number of unlocked gates in place which all would need to be opened and then closed in turn before the right can be exercised.

What to do about if the right of access to your property is blocked?

Each case is individual and subjective and we can provide you with advice on whether or not your property access rights are being unreasonably and substantially interfered with

If you believe there is a substantial interference preventing your use of your right of way, you must firstly be able to show that you are entitled to benefit from the right of way. We can advise on this as it will require analysis of your deeds and all Land Registry documents for both properties.  Upon proving this, writing to the party causing the interference may result in the interference being removed. Should this not be successful, you may wish to look into obtaining a Court order that the neighbours remove the interference.

For further information, please contact our Specialist Litigation Team on 0800 088 6004.


Hayley Mauro


Hayley Mauro


Hayley is Partner and Solicitor in our Commercial Litigation and Employment teams. She is an expert in all aspects of Dispute Resolution and in negotiating sensible outcomes to the most complex commercial disputes. Hayley also advises on Employment Law issues.