The Law Society of Ireland has welcomed government plans to amend the provisions in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 in relation to rights of way and other easements.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys secured cabinet approval yesterday (Tuesday, September 21) to quickly enact a short amending bill.

This amendment means that easements, such as a right of way, and rights to maintain water and sewerage pipes on neighbouring land, will no longer have to be registered with the Property Registration Authority (PRA) by November 30 of this year.

The issue was expected to cause a “backlog of court cases by those trying to protect their rights to access”, the Law Society said.

Further clarity on right of way

In May, the Law Society made a detailed submission to the Department of Justice calling for the urgent need to review the law relating to easements.

It also sought a six-year extension to the deadline for registration coupled with a request that the area of easements be referred to the Law Reform Commission for a full review and its recommendations for reform of the law.

Convener of the Law Society’s Easements Task Force, Paddy Sweetman, said:

“The Law Society raised the rights of way registration deadline as an issue of major concern among solicitors with the government earlier this year.

“We engaged extensively with them on this issue and we are pleased to see that our concerns have been heard.

“The 2009 act has already been causing difficulties for people when buying and selling property, and for people taking out mortgages.

“The looming deadline of November 30 would have made the situation considerably worse.”

He added that the Law Society is “grateful” that the minister has “recognised the need for a ‘wholesale reform’ in this area”.

“We look forward to receiving further clarity on the issue and the amendments being brought forward,” he said.