Prescription Act 1832

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Prescription Act 1832 (c 71) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning English land law and particularly the method for acquiring an easement which was passed on August 1, 1832.[1][2][3]


Common law prescription assumed continuous prescriptive rights from 1189 when the legal regime officially began.[4] The Prescription Act 1832 was written hastily as a response to a criticism by Jeremy Bentham, who proposed the complete elimination of common law. It practically supersedes common law prescription but does not actually invalidate it.[5]


  • s 1(not officially numbered), Claims to right of common and other profits a prendre,not to be defeated after thirty years enjoyment by merely showing the commencement; after sixty years enjoyment the right to be absolute, unless had by consent or agreement.[6]
  • s 2, In claims of right of way or other easement the periods to be twenty years and forty years.[7]
  • s 3, Claim to the use of light enjoyed for 20 years.
  • s 4, Before mentioned periods to be deemed those next before suits.[8]
  • s 5, In actions on the case, the claimant may allege his right generally, as at present. In pleas to trespass and certain other pleadings, the period mentioned in this Act may be alleged. Exceptions, &c. to be replied to specially.[9]
  • s 6, Presumption to be allowed in claims here provided for.[10]
  • s 7, Proviso for infants, &c.[11]
  • s 8, What time to be excluded in computing the term of forty years appointed by this Act.[12]
  • s 10, Commencement of Act.[14]
  • s 11, Act may be amended.[15]

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