International legal practice Osborne Clarke has acted for Summit Developments Limited (Summit), the lead appellant in a landmark appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's decision is expected to bring long-overdue clarity to the correct application of the test for determining when a "recreational right" can qualify as an easement.

The appeal concerns the legal nature of certain recreational rights which were granted to the owners of Regency Villas ("Regency") over Summit's Broome Park estate in Kent, which was formerly the home of Lord Kitchener and is now a hotel and golf course complex.

The Court of Appeal had found that a number of the disputed rights which were granted to Regency amounted to recreational easements, by which the Regency timeshare owners were entitled to freely use the facilities on Summit's Broome Park estate, including the golf course, swimming pool, squash and tennis courts and Italianate Gardens.

Osborne Clarke client Summit appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Court of Appeal's decision had applied the wrong legal test. Summit's position was that the rights granted to Regency could not take effect as easements and therefore that the Broome Park estate facilities cannot be freely used by Regency.

Summit's appeal will require the Supreme Court to consider for the first time the correctness of the decision of the Court Of Appeal in the 1956 Re Ellenborough Park case, which up until this appeal had been the leading case on recreational property rights.

The Supreme Court's decision will be handed down later this year.

Associate Director Carl Roche, Partner Gary Lawrenson and Associate Sian Edmonds from Osborne Clarke's Real Estate Litigation team advised Summit on the appeal. The team instructed Tim Morshead QC and Toby Watkin from Landmark Chambers to represent Summit in the appeal.

Osborne Clarke's Property Litigation team provides a full service real estate litigation offering to clients operating across all eight key sectors. With market-leading expertise, the team excels at helping clients to resolve property disputes quickly and effectively.

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