Land law update: seabed is not land

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By Rhys Duncan on


High Court ruling

Law students with upcoming exams may be interested in a recent judgment of the High Court which found that the seabed does not constitute land.

The case was brought by mayor of Portland Town Council in Dorset, Carralyn Parkes, questioning in a judicial review whether a barge housing asylum seekers should require planning permission.

The appeal concerned controversial barge the Bibby Stockholm, and whether the seabed in Dorset over which it is moored constitutes ‘land’ and is therefore subject to planning controls.

The docking, she argued, should require planning permission as a material change in the use of that land so as to constitute ‘development’.

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Mr Justice Holgate found that the seabed does not meet the statutory definition of ‘land’, however.

“If land were to be treated as including the seabed, there would be no logical stopping place before the limits of this country’s territorial sovereignty are reached. That approach would be inconsistent with the legislature’s intention to enact a system of development control in relation to the land, not the sea.”

“It is logical to include the foreshore within the area referred to as ‘land’ because it is not always covered by the sea,” Mr Justice Holgate said.

Aiding the court were top barristers from a host of leading sets. Silks and juniors were called in to represent parties from 39 Essex Chambers, Cornerstone Barristers, Landmark Chambers, and Twenty Essex.



Another expensive indulgence in activist lawfare that serves no purpose but to make Carralyn Parkes feel good about herself.

Person A

It is a much more expensive long term cost to have inefficient systems like Barge Boats ridden with disease to control immigration.

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