Loose v Lynn Shell Fish Ltd and others (Le Strange Meakin, Part 20 defendant) (Crown Estate Comrs intervening) – WLR Daily

Posted April 20th, 2016 in Crown, fisheries, law reports, prescription by sally

Loose v Lynn Shell Fish Ltd and others (Le Strange Meakin, Part 20 defendant) (Crown Estate Comrs intervening) [2016] UKSC 14

‘An estate adjoining the foreshore on the east side of the Wash owned a private fishery with an exclusive right to take shellfish over part of the foreshore. In 1970 the estate granted a lease of that exclusive right to the claimant. The claimant brought proceedings against the defendants alleging that they had been fishing for cockles in areas of foreshore which were part of the private fishery of which he was the lessee. The defendants accepted that a private fishery had been established by prescription but disputed its extent. In particular, they contended that it did not extend to large sandbanks which had been detached from the foreshore until the channels separating them had silted up; that such sandbanks were not subject to the doctrine of accretion, properly understood; and that, even if they were, it would not follow that the fishery rights had increased commensurately since that would have required a Crown grant and the power of the Crown to make such a grant had been removed by Magna Carta. The judge, however, held that the terms of the grant presumed as a result of the past prescriptive activities was a grant before 1189 of a fishery extending over the whole of the foreshore as it varied from time to time, and accordingly included the sandbanks; that on that basis, the defendants were liable in damages; and that the most practical of the various alternative lines put forward as the defined seaward boundary of the fishery was the mean low water mark of spring tides, rather than extreme low water as contended for by the claimant. The defendants appealed and the claimant cross-appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the defendants’ appeal and held that as conditions changed and more or less of the seabed was exposed at low water, the area of the private fishery would expand or shrink, and held, allowing the claimant’s cross-appeal in part, that the fishery extended in law as far as lowest astronomical tide, which was the lowest point to which the tide fell as a result of normal astronomical forces.’

WLR Daily, 13th April 2016

Source: www.iclr.co.uk