Resources

This page offers what might be called a concordance:  it lists the issues with which residents in private roads will often be concerned, and explains briefly what resources are available on each subject.   We include material in our members’ pages (some of which is available to the public at large), our book on the law, and further resources such as other websites (including our own Live Law website, www.livelaw.co.uk) and legal books.  The aim of the page is simply to help interested parties find the help they are looking for.  In the table below our book, Private Roads:  The Legal Framework, 5th edn, is abbreviated to “PR5”, and Managing Private Roads and Estates to “MPRE”.   In citing textbooks, we have given an indication of the year of publication, length and approximate cost.  Please note that this page is a work in progress, and we expect to add to it as time goes by. Indeed, we welcome suggestions about useful resources.

SubjectResources
BackgroundThe legal history of private roads in modern times is dealt with in PR5 ch. 1. MPRE ch. 4 comments on numbers and distribution. A House of Commons Briefing paper No. CBP 402, dated 10 April 2018, deals briefly with the history of private roads.
Unincorporated associations and companiesPR5 ch. 13 deals with the law, MPRE ch. 2 with the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms. Unincorporated associations are free of the requirements imposed on companies by the Companies Acts, and may therefore seem more attractive. But their status, as bodies which are not actually legal "persons" but which are treated as though they are, brings complications, as to which for a full treatment see The Law of Unincorporated Associations (2011, 290 pages, £150), which is recommended. For companies, there is a good deal of helpful material on the Companies House website, and many guides to running a company have been published. Legal textbooks, for example Gower on Principles of Modern Company Law (2016, 1225 pages, about £35) are likely to contain much more than residents' associations need.
Ownership of private roadsPR5 ch. 2 deals with the law, MPRE ch. 4 with practicalities, including the advantages to residents of owning the road they live in. Correspondence with the Government Legal Department on this subject will be found in the Archive section of our members' pages. Textbooks on land law and conveyancing are likely to be of limited use to residents' associations, but see for example Property Law by Roger J. Smith (2017, 642 pages, £38). In relation to Boundaries, please see our Live Law website, www.livelaw.co.uk for a free video + option to buy accompanying pdf file explaining the law.
Public rights of wayPR5 ch. 3 and 4, MPRE ch. 5 on encroachment, including the creation of public rights of way by the legal process known as "dedication and acceptance". Local authorities maintain lists of "highways maintainable at the public expense", and the "definitive map and statement" records footpaths and bridleways. A short text is An Introduction to Highway Law, by Michael Orlik (2018, 200 pages, £70); the "bible" is Highway Law by Stephen Sauvain QC (2013, 746 pages, £215).
Private rights of wayPR5 ch. 5, MPRE ch. 5 on encroachment, including the creation of private rights of way by use over time ("prescription"). For a short account of the law, see www.livelaw.co.uk, on Private rights of way.
ParkingPR5 ch. 5 explains how a right to park on private land may be granted by means of a deed, or acquired by prescription. There is a Live Law video + file on Parking on private land. (Much of the published information on the internet and elsewhere is concerned with parking on public roads and in publicly-run car parks, where the law is different.)
MotoringThere are many useful guides to the law for motorists, and much information on the internet; but caution needs to be exercised in relation to private roads, because private roads do not all have the same legal status for the purposes of motoring law: see PR5 ch. 1 and 8.
PlanningPlanning issues which affect private roads are covered in PR5 ch. 9, while MPRE ch. 8 concentrates on the practicalities of responding to an unwelcome planning application. There are also some remarks about the planning system in our newsletters 35 and 36. For an example of a textbook, which treats with the system as a whole, see Telling and Duxbury on Planning Law and Procedure (2017, 622 pages, £55).
Trees, and hedgesMany private roads - especially older roads - are lined with trees. Though attractive, they can bring problems, in that they may pose a risk, and roots and branches may encroach on or under neighbouring land. There is a Live Law video + file on Trees. See generally PR5 ch. 7 on liability and MPRE ch. 9 on managing risk. PR5 ch. 9 deals with tree preservation orders ("TPOs") and the legal position in conservation areas. Public liability insurance is important, to cover the risk of accidents involving trees: see the website of our partners, Edwards Insurance, who now adminster the well-known private roads insurance scheme.
Trespassing and other civil wrongs. See PR5 ch. 7, and MPRE ch.9. There is a Live Law video + file on Restrictive covenants.
SubscriptionsIn newer private roads, the deeds by which properties are sold off by the developer will usually include an "estate rentcharge" - a legal device which ensures that an annual sum is payable, to the residents' management company, in respect of each property in the development. A model estate rentchgarge, drafted by Counsel, is available to members who wish to consider introducing this obligation. For older private roads, where properties are not subject to estate rentcharges, the legal position is explained in MPRE ch. 2.
MaintenanceSee PR5 ch. 5 on the law (but note also ch. 3 and 4 if the road is a highway); MPRE ch. 6 on the practicalities.
AccidentsSee generally PR5 ch. 7 on liability and MPRE ch. 9 on managing risk. Residents' associations in private roads are exposed to liability because they assume responsibility for looking after the road even if they do not own it. Public liability insurance is important, to cover the risk of accidents: see the website of our partners, Edwards Insurance, who now administer the well-known private roads insurance scheme.
AdoptionIt is possible for a private road to be "adopted", i.e. taken over by the local authority so that it belongs to them, and they are responsible for maintenance. Many new residential roads (but few older roads) are subject to this process. It is also possible for a public road to become private by the legal process of "stopping up". See PR5 ch. 4 and 12 for the law. Some local authorities' websites provide information about these processes.
Privacy and data protectionSince May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR), a piece of EU legislation, has governed the holding and treatment of personal information by residents'associations and other bodies. The law is strict, and the penalties potentially severe. MPRE ch. 3 contains a relatively brief treatment of the law; more will need to be said in the next edition of Private Roads: The Legal Framework. Meanwhile, the website of the Information Commissioner offers assistance.