Wilson Horne: The perils of enforcing shooting rights to inhibit development

Wilson Horne: The perils of enforcing shooting rights to inhibit development

On 16 January 2020, the Court Appeal dismissed an application for permission to appeal by the Claimant (Clochfaen Estate Limited) against the decision of HHJ Jarman QC following a 4-day trial. The judgment may be found at [2019] EWHC 1562 (Ch).

The action was one for damages for interference arising from development works carried out by the Defendants for the construction of a wind turbine farm near Llangurig, Powys, Wales. The Claimant contended that its valuable shooting rights had been infringed by the Defendants’ actions. The actions complained of included the operation of a substantial batching concrete plant, various compounds and the transportation of all concrete and wind turbine parts across the servient land. The Claimant chose not to apply for an interim injunction.

Whilst the Claimant succeeded at trial on the issue of liability, it was awarded only nominal damages of £100. The Court refused to award the Claimant negotiating damages pursuant to the Supreme Court decision of One Step (Support) Ltd v Morris-Garner [2018] UKSC 20, and given the way the Claimant had historically licensed the use of its rights, an award of damages based upon diminution in value was also inappropriate.

Wilson Horne was instructed by Helen Evans of Hill Dickinson, and they represented the Fourth Defendant, Jones Bros. Ruthin (Civil Engineering) Company Limited at trial. The Fourth had provided all the civil engineering services in connection with the development. Unsurprisingly, the Fourth Defendant recovered its costs after trial.

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