Owners who expand their grounds (e.g. by purchasing the adjacent land) often wonder what this expansion means with respect to easements established in the past. Will the area of expansion also benefit from such easements? The Supreme Court recently rendered an important decision on this matter.
The case pertained to a school building with a schoolyard. This current parcel was formed from parts of different parcels. In the past an easement to provide exit from and access to the dominant land was established for the benefit of one of those parcels (as dominant land) over the adjacent parcel (as servient land). At the time of the establishment of the easement a car business was located on the dominant land; the school building with schoolyard was created on the land at a later time. The school building and schoolyard were built partly on the dominant land and partly on the other part of the parcel that is not dominant.
In principle, an easement established for the benefit of a specific area of land cannot also serve to benefit other parcels. In this case, however, the Court of Appeal concluded that the school building and schoolyard are de facto used as one entity and are also considered one entity according to current common opinion. As a result of this, the easement also includes the broader use desired by the owner of the school. The Supreme Court has now confirmed this judgment.