Origins of sections 193 and 194 of The Law of Property Act 1925

On 29 June 2022 we shall celebrate the centenary of the Law of Property Act 1922. The principal purpose of the Act was to modernise the law of real property. The Act abolished copyholds, the form of land tenure whereby tenants’ rights, including rights of common, were recorded by the manorial courts. The society was alarmed by this: when attempts were made to enclose commons, we always referred to the manorial records to ascertain the existence of common rights.

Accordingly, we campaigned for and won provisions which gave the public the right to walk and ride on certain commons, and which protected commons from development and encroachment by requiring the minister’s consent for any works. These became sections 193 and 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925, and are integral to the society’s work to protect common land and ensure the public can enjoy it.

In 1997, Open Spaces Society trustee and vice-president Bernard Selwyn wrote a comprehensive paper detailing the origins of sections 193 and 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925, and the society’s role in achieving them.

Sadly, Bernard died in 2018, but his years of devotion and dedication to the Open Spaces Society live on. You can read Bernard’s obituary here, and find his paper on the Origins of Sections 193 and 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925 linked below.

Further resources about Commons

  • Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006: getting land onto or off the commons and greens registers

    This fact sheet covers the following information about Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006: getting land onto or off the commons and greens registers. 

  • Protecting commons, greens and open spaces training course

    Learn the fundamentals on this comprehensive course to include definitions, registration/designation, protection and management.

  • How to take action against unlawful encroachments and works

    This fact sheet tells you how to protect your common from unlawful encroachments and works in England.

  • Vehicular access across Common Land and Town or Village Greens

    This provides guidance about vehicular access across common land and town or village greens following the repeal of section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

  • A charter for Wales's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in Wales can benefit.

  • A Common Purpose Guide

    Download the Foundation for Common Land guidance on how to engage with local communities for those contemplating management on common land.

  • An approach to the re-registration of commons

    Our commons re-registration officer Dr Frances Kerner shares our approach to research and application preparation

  • Registered common land and highways

    Registered common land may also be part of a public highway, and evidence that land is registered common land or part of a highway is of little or no value in demonstrating that the land is not the other.

  • A charter for England's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in England can benefit.

  • A commons’ conference companion

    The Countryside and Community Research Institute of Gloucester University (CCRI) has published a Commons e-book

  • DIY guide to registering lost commons

    The Commons Act 2006 provides a new, time-limited, opportunity for you to rescue some of those commons which failed to be registered under the Commons

  • Buildings, fences and other works on common land in England and Wales

    A practical guide for those wishing to carry out a lawful operation on a common and those wanting to defend a common against unlawful or undesirable operations.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Commons

    Frequently asked questions about commons

  • Preventing vehicular access to common land or town and village greens (dragon's teeth)

    How to prevent vehicular access to common land, town or village greens using dragon's teeth.

  • Unclaimed land and adverse possession

    Unclaimed land and adverse possession: protecting commons and other open spaces with no known owner

  • Finding common ground

    Integrating local and national interests on commons: guidance for assessing the community value of common land

Our latest posts about commons

Dartmoor backpack-camping case is to go to Supreme Court 

We are deeply dismayed that the Supreme Court has granted the Dartmoor landowners, Alexander and Diana Darwall, leave to appeal in the Dartmoor backpack-camping case.  The society intervened in support of the Dartmoor National Park Authority in the Court of Appeal, and it was delighted when that court ruled that the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 gave…
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Our plan to secure urban green spaces for the public 

We made a host of recommendations to secure urban green spaces for public enjoyment.    These recommendations have been published by the House of Commons’ Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee, which last year conducted an inquiry into the ecological, environmental, and human benefits of green space, and the most effective solutions to making cities greener…
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Planning for commons in the north

Open Spaces Society case officer Hugh Craddock and Friends of the Lake District planning officer Lorayne Wall MRTPI, on 7 June addressed members of the Royal Town Planning Institute on planning for commons. At the Institute’s rural update for north of England, members heard about ‘Planning and Common Land’, raising awareness of how and why…
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Café plans for Bristol Downs abandoned

We have welcomed the decision to abandon plans for a café on the downs in Bristol close to the Avon Gorge.  The society criticised the Downs Committee[1] , which put forward the plans, for squandering public money on unlawful and undesirable projects.  Meanwhile the committee is failing adequately to carry out its statutory responsibilities. The Downs…
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