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In order for a court to decide how to distinguish a fixture from a chattel the courts generally consider two tests in deciding the issue: the degree of annexation of the object to the land; and the purpose of the annexation

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Introduction

(a) In order for a court to decide how to distinguish a fixture from a chattel the courts generally consider two tests in deciding the issue: the degree of annexation of the object to the land; and the purpose of the annexation When considering the degree of annexation the general rule is that 'unless an item is physically attached to the land, it will not be considered as a fixture'.1 However this is some cases is not always true and so it becomes necessary to add a third category to 'fixtures and fittings', that is to say, 'items which are brought onto the land and become part of it, without properly being regarded as fixtures at all'.2 A recent case in which this issue arose was Elitestone v. Morris.3 The main question in the case was whether or not the bungalow on the land was a building or a chattel. The court held that the bungalow was part of the land as the building was unlike a mobile home because it could only be removed from the site by being destroyed, and so it was inappropriate to consider whether or not the bungalow was a fixture as to regard something as a fixture it must first be attached to a building. Traditionally when looking at purpose of annexation the courts will look at whether an object was affixed with the intention of making it a permanent improvement to the land or was it attached in order to use of display the chattel. ...read more.

Middle

But works of art which were placed in a building primarily to be enjoyed as objects in their own right, rather than forming part of the land or the building are not likely to be properly considered as fixtures and so it is not that the law lack coherence and certainty but that each case should be decided on its own individual facts and so the law should remain as it stands. 1 Thompson, M.P., Modern Land Law Second Edition, Oxford 2003, p. 14 2 Thompson, M.P., Modern Land Law Second Edition, Oxford 2003, p. 7 3 [1997] 1 W.L.R. 687; H Conway [1998] Conv. 418. 4 [1902] A.C. 157. 5 [1977] 241 E.G. 911. 6 (1866) L.R. 3 Eq. 382. 7 [1872] L.R. 7 C.P. (b) If a chattel is found on someone's land and the true owner cannot be located the general rule is that the finder of an item acquires a good title against all but the true owner, as the true owner will always have a superior title to the object in question than the finder or the landowner. This is shown in the case of Moffat v. Kazana.1 In this case the plaintiff hid bank notes in a biscuit tin in his house. Later when he sold the house, one of the workmen discovered the money and so he contended for the money to be returned. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fletcher.8 In which the defendant, when using a metal detector, found a brooch, but as the council had already stipulated that no digging was allowed in the park, his actions were seen as that of trespassing and so severely weakening his right to the object in question. The finding rule also excludes items which are found but where the land owner has expressed an intention to exercise control over any objects found on their land. An example of this issue is shown by Donaldson LJ in Parker v British Airways Board.9 He said the plaintiffs "rights could only be displaced by the defendants if they could show as occupiers an obvious intention to exercise such control over the lounge and things in it". In conclusion the law on finding objects on or beneath the surface of somebody else's land seems satisfactory as the general rule applied in the common law give a clear outline as to has rights over objects found. The exclusions to these rules are also satisfactory in that they are reasonable and clear for anyone to understand. The only disputes over the law are where different parties will use different areas of this law to support their claim however the rule of common law always prevails in giving the correct answer. 1 [1969] 2 Q.B. 152. 2 (1866) 33 Ch.D. 562. 3 [1862] 2 Q.B. 44. 4 Treasure Act 1996 5 Petroleum (Production) Act 1934 s.1; Coal Industry Act 1994, s.9. 6 (1722) 5 Stra 505 7 [1982] 1 All E.R 8 [1996] Q.B. 334. 9 [1982] 1 All E. ...read more.

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