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R. (on the application of Barkas) v North Yorkshire CC
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1 User Commentary

Melanie Davidson (In-house lawyer) 28 September 2015

Case Digest: R (on the application of Barkas) v North Yorkshire County Council and another [2014] UKSC 31

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Whether the use of land by the public for recreational purposes was "as of right" under section 15 of the Commons Act 2006

The Supreme Court handed down a majority judgment in the matter of R (on the application of Barkas) v North Yorkshire County Council and another [2014] UKSC 31 on appeal from the Court of Appeal. The matter in this case was whether the recreational use by the public of Helredale playing field was "as of right" under section 15 of Commons Act 2006.

The Helredale Neighbourhood Council applied to the North Yorkshire County Council to register the Helredale playing field as a "town or village green" under section 15 of the 2006 Act, which allows registration of land where members of the public have "indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land" for at least 20 years. North Yorkshire County Council rejected the application on the grounds that the public use of the land had not been "as of right". The appellant, a member of the Neighbourhood Council, applied for a judicial review of the decision, which was unsuccessful, as was the subsequent appeal. The appellant then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Lord Neuberger of the Supreme Court stated that the public had a statutory right to the use of land for recreational purposes "by right" as opposed to "as of right" under section 12 of the Housing Act 1985 as the use of land by members of the public was lawful and so there was no question of "as of right".

The Supreme Court therefore unanimously dismissed the appeal.


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