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Supreme Court to hand down key ruling next week on village greens and activities of landowner

The Supreme Court will next week (12 February) hand down an important ruling on town and village green registration.

The key issue in T W Logistics Ltd (Appellant) v Essex County Council & another (Respondents) is how the legislation prohibiting various activities on town or village greens interacts with the registration regime, “given the rule that the public’s activities on the land before registration may co-exist with those of the landowner, and must do after registration”.

In 2015 the county council registered part of the Port of Mistley, owned by TWL, as a town or village green. By the Commons Act 2006, land is registrable as a town or village green if it is land on which "significant number of the inhabitants of any locality… have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years… ."

TWL challenged the registration, arguing that its effect would be to criminalise many of its activities in operating the Port.

In February 2017 Mr Justice Barling in the High Court rejected TW Logistics’ call for the TVG register to be rectified by the removal of the land.

The company’s appeal was subsequently dismissed by the Court of Appeal in TW Logistics Ltd v Essex County Council & Anor [2018] EWCA Civ 2172.

TWL appealed to the Supreme Court. A panel comprising Lady Black, Lady Arden, Lord Sales, Lord Burrows and Lord Stephens heard the case on 2 and 3 December 2020.

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