Rowland v Environment Agency [2003] EWCA Civ 1885, [2005] Ch 1, [2004] 3 WLR 249

27 Jun 2019

Planning and Environment

Lisa acted for the Environment Agency in this seminal case concerning the doctrine of legitimate expectation, and public rights of navigation on the River Thames.

The case established that the common assumption of the claimant and the Agency before November 2000 that a part of the River Thames known as Hedsor Water was private gave rise to a legitimate expectation that it would be treated as such; but that public rights of navigation could not be extinguished except by statute. Accordingly, the Court could not give effect to the expectation at common law.

Further, although the expectation was a possession for the purposes of Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR, it gave way to an overriding public interest.

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