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The Degree of Annexation According to the Ruling in Botham

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In general the test for determining whether or not an object can be deemed a fixture was summarized by Blackburn J in a case that predates Botham. In the case, Holland v Hodgson [1872] LR 7 CP 328 Blackburn J ruled that the appropriate test for discerning whether an object is a fixture is by reference to the degree to which the object is attached to the property and by reference to the purpose for which it was annexed. This test is clearly no different from the test laid out in the Botham case and likewise implies that both parts of the test must form the basis of the enquiry with equal attention and significance to both.

Even so, there have been instances where the courts have insisted that the degree of annexation was the most important line of inquiry. For instance in Mather v Fraser [1856] 2 K & J 536 it was held that the degree of annexation was the most important factor and that any object that was supported by its own weight was a chattel.

The courts have also ruled that in order for an object to be properly deemed a fixture it had to be attached to the land in a particularly significant manner even if it was possible for it to be removed easily. Be that as it may, there is more than sufficient consensus among a plethora of case law to support the contention that the presumption of annexation can be superseded by evidence of purpose and/or attention with respect to the annexation of the object. For instance it was held by the House of Lords in Leigh v Taylor that when an object is annexed to land, it is automatically presumed that the object is a fixture.

Even so, the House of Lords went on to add that the presumption is rebuttable by reference to the purpose of the annexation. In Leigh an occupier with a life interest attached tapestries to a wall in a house subject to the life interest. After the occupier’ s death, a remainder issue claimed that the tapestries were fixtures and therefore passed with the house. The House of Lords did not agree and ruled that the tapestries were chattels and had never changed so that they were fixtures since they were merely annexed to the walls to enhance the enjoyment of the chattels.

Re Whaley [1908] 1 Ch 615 demonstrates how a chattel can be deemed a fixture. In this case, the court held that the tapestries in question had become fixtures because they were affixed to form a part of a room’ s theme and had not been annexed as chattels. As Dixon explains: Thus, where affixing is necessary for the proper use of the article and applies nothing about its relation to the land, the item may remain a chattel.

Conversely, items intended to enhance the value of the property may be fixtures even though resting on their own weight. In this regard, it comes down to proper construction of the facts and circumstances of each case.

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preview essay on The Degree of Annexation According to the Ruling in Botham
  • Pages: 9 (2250 words)
  • Document Type: Case Study
  • Subject: Law
  • Level: Undergraduate
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