Advice from PRS

Our approach to giving advice in particular cases is simply that we will help if we can.  In many cases, we can respond to requests for advice by means of a few sentences of explanation coupled with references to our book on the law, and/or the material on our website, particularly Managing Private Roads and Estates (practical guidance which complements our book on the law).  We make no charge for this sort of advice.

However, there are cases in which formal written advice is need.  This tends to be where:

  • The application of the law in a particular case is not clear, and a written assessment of the legal position is therefore needed;  or
  • The law is clear, but a written exposition is needed, perhaps as a guide for the future, or in order to respond to disputes about the legality of a particular course of action.

In these circumstances we do make a charge.  As a very rough guide, we charge about £75 an hour for the time spent;  well below typical charges by solicitors.  We will, whenever possible, quote a fixed fee, and will include in that fee dealing with any follow-up questions about the advice — which are in fact common.

There may be occasions when oral advice is appropriate, and we are happy to arrange remote meetings on request, using Zoom or similar software.   However, advice will usually mean written advice.  For that we will need a careful account of the facts, together with any relevant plans, letters and other documents (see our Seeking advice page) supplemented by an explanation of what you hope to achieve. Please don’t take it amiss if we ask for more information, or for clarification!  It’s very important for us to be clear about the facts we are being asked to advise on.

Good advice flows from a process of thinking, researching, drafting and redrafting — and (the last and probably most important step) carefully re-reading your instructions, to make sure that we have provided good, clear answers to the questions which we have been asked.  All this takes time;  but we can usually provide written advice within a relatively short period, meaning a week or sometimes a little more. Urgent cases can be dealt with nore quickly.

Some examples of issues on which we may be able to advise*:

  • Ownership of private roads, and the ways in which it may be possible to register title
  • Private rights of way (whether such rights exist, and if so what is their scope)
  • Public rights of way (whether such rights exist, and if so for what classes of traffic)
  • Claims by local authorities about the status of private roads, and/or the exercise of statutory powers
  • Problems with services, and the responsibilities and powers of the utility companies
  • Problems associated with special areas of land, including village greens, common land, and land belonging to the Crown.
  • Data protection, privacy and security;  cctv and automatic number plate recognition (“ANPR”)
  • Planning:  whether planning permission is required;  powers of local authorities
  • Adminstration of residents’ associations (companies and unincorporated associations)
  • Parking, including “rogue” parking and preventive measures
  • Civil liability and managing risk (though queries about policies taken out under the PRS insurance scheme should be addressed to Edwards Insurers, since the administration of the scheme is now in their very capable hands).

The list is not exhaustive. Over the years we have dealt with some unusual and indeed esoteric legal issues, including in one case the ancient obligation known as chancel repair liability.

Please see also our Meetings and hearings page.

Finally, please note our Terms and Conditions page for the basis on which advice is given.


* Please note that we can’t engage in activities which fall within regulation 12 of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, SI 2017/692. This includes creating and operating companies and other structures (there are many businesses which will undertake company formation and administration work) and participating in financial transactions and transactions involving land.