Easement on real estate (Ro.: servitute funciară, De.: ~e Grunddienstbarkeit/ Prädialservitut, Fr.: servitude foncière, n.f., Gr.: πραγματική δουλεία, Cz.: věcné břemeno váznoucí na nemovité věci) (See also: emphyteusis, profit à prendre, real covenant, right of way, superficies) = a non-possessory interest by virtue of which one person (easement holder) has a right to go through or otherwise use for some particular limited purpose a piece of land owned by another person. The parcel of land that benefits from an easement is called 'dominant estate', and the piece of land that bears the burden of an easement is called 'servient estate'.

Negative ~ = a type of easement that forbids the owner of the servient estate to do a particular action (for example, to erect a building on the servient estate that would block sunlight for the dominant estate)

Positive ~ = a type of easement that requires the owner of the servient estate to permit the easement holder to do a particular action (for instance, to go through the servient estate)

Private ~ = an easement that only a specific person or a group of specific persons may legally benefit from


Useful links

Legislation - Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000(§ 12 – Effect of right of access on rights and liabilities of owners; § 68 – Vehicular access across common land etc.) (England and Wales) [English] - Law of Property Act 1925(§ 1 Legal estates and equitable interests; § 2 Conveyances overreaching certain equitable interests and powers; § 187 Legal easements; § 200 Notice of restrictive covenants and easements) (England and Wales) [English] - Restatement (Third) of Property (Servitudes) § 4.8 (2000) (USA) [English] - United States Code (40 U.S. Code § 1314 - Easements) [English] - Romanian Civil Code, Art. 760 [Romanian]

Case law

England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division): - Crabb v. Arun District Council, 1975, EWCA Civ 7 - Das v. Linden Mews Ltd., 2002, EWCA Civ 590 - Green v. Lord Somerleyton, 2003, EWCA Civ 198 - Kent v. Kavanagh, 2006, EWCA Civ 162 - Phipps v. Pears, 1964, EWCA Civ 3 - Re Ellenborough Park, 1955, EWCA Civ 4

UK House of Lords: - Hunter v. Canary Wharf Ltd., 1997, UKHL 14 - Moncrieff v. Jamieson, 2007, UKHL 42

U.S. Supreme Court: - Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S., 134 S.Ct. 1257

U.S. Courts of Appeals: - First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake v. Salt Lake, 308 F. 3d 1114 (10th Cir. 2002) - Roundy's Inc. v. NLRB, 674 F. 3d 638 (7th Cir. 2012) - Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Brantley, 510 F. 3d 1256 (10th Cir. 2007)

U.S. state courts: - Scalia v. Green, 271 P. 3d 479 (Ariz: Court of Appeals, 1st Div., Dept. E 2011) – Glenelk Association, Inc. v. Lewis, 260 P. 3d 1117 (Colo: Supreme Court 2011)

Online Publications - Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association, Understanding Easements and Rights-of-Way - FindLaw, Easement Basics - National Business Institute, A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding Easements


Berger, L., 1986, Integration of the Law of Easements, Real Covenants and Equitable Servitudes, Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 43, Issue 2, pp. 337-368, [available online at:]

Boggenpoel, Z., 2013, Creating a Servitude to Solve an Encroachment Dispute: A Solution or Creating Another Problem?, Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp. 455-486, [available online at:]

Depue, S., 1890, Equitable Easements, The American Law Register, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 73-92, [available online at:]

Gale, C.J., 2010, Roope Reeve, R.H., A Treatise on the Law of Easements, USA, Nabu Press

Gray, K., Gray, S.F., 2009, Elements of Land Law, UK, Oxford University Press, pp. 593-692 (Part V: Easements and Profits à Prendre)

Hernandez, M.V., 2005, Restating Implied, Prescriptive, and Statutory Easements, Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal, Vol. 40, pp. 75-115, [available online at:]

Korngold, G., 2004, Private Land Use Arrangements: Easements, Real Covenants and Equitable Servitudes, 2nd edition, USA, Juris Publishing, Inc.

Siegel, S.A., 2012, A Student's Guide to Easements, Real Covenants and Equitable Servitudes, 3rd edition, USA, LexisNexis

Strang, L.J., 2007, Damages as the Appropriate Remedy for 'Abuse' of an Easement: Moving Toward Consistency, Efficiency, and Fairness in Property Law, MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-05, [available online at:]

Teo, K.S., 2012, Easement - A Proprietary Interest in the Servient Tenement?, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, pp. 491-495, [available online at:]

Waite, A.J., 1985, Easements: Positive Duties on the Servient Owner?, The Cambridge Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 458-476, [available online at:]

Washburn, E., 2009, A Treatise on the American Law of Easements and Servitudes, USA, BiblioBazaar

Wilson, D.A., 2013, Easements Relating to Land Surveying and Title Examination, USA, Wiley


By Dmytro Galagan