HIGHWAYS ACT 1980 - PART III
Dedication of way as highway presumed after public use for 20 years
31. (1) Where a way over any land, other than a way of such a character that use of it
by the public could not give rise at common law to any presumption of
dedication, has been actually enjoyed by the public as of right and without
interruption for a full period of 20 years, the way is to be deemed to have been
dedicated as a highway unless there is sufficient evidence that there was no
intention during that period to dedicate it.
(2) The period of 20 years referred to in subsection (1) above is to be calculated
retrospectively from the date when the right of the public to use the way is
brought into question, whether by a notice such as is mentioned in subsection
(3) below or otherwise.
(3) Where the owner of the land over which any such way as aforesaid passes:-
(a) has erected in such manner as to be visible to persons using the way a
notice inconsistent with the dedication of the way as a highway, and
(b) has maintained the notice after 1st January 1934, or any later date on
which it was erected,
the notice, in the absence of proof of a contrary intention, is sufficient evidence
to negative the intention to dedicate the way as a highway.
(4) In the case of land in the possession of a tenant for a term of years, or from year
to year, any person for the time being entitled in reversion to the land shall,
notwithstanding the existence of the tenancy, have the right to place and
maintain such a notice as is mentioned in subsection (3) above, so, however,
that no injury is done thereby to the business or occupation of the tenant.
(5) Where a notice erected as mentioned in subsection (3) above is subsequently
torn down or defaced, a notice given by the owner of the land to the appropriate
council that the way is not dedicated as a highway is, in the absence of proof of
a contrary intention, sufficient evidence to negative the intention of the owner of
the land to dedicate the way as a highway.
(6) An owner of land may at any time deposit with the appropriate council:-
(a) a map of the land on a scale of not less than 6 inches to 1 mile, and
(b) a statement indicating what ways (if any) over the land he admits to have
been dedicated as highways;
and, in any case in which such a deposit has been made, statutory declarations
made by that owner or by his successors in title and lodged by him or them with
the appropriate council at any time:-