What are the differences between easements and profits-à-prendre under land law? What are the leading cases?
What are the differences between easements and profits-à-prendre?
An easement is loosely defined as: the right to use another’s land for a specific purpose. Examples include gas pipes and a right of way.
Re Ellenborough Park  outlines four characteristics of an easement and they are:
- There must be a dominant and servient tenement
- The easements must accommodate the dominant land
- The easement must be owned and occupied by different people
- The easement must be capable of forming the subject matter of a ‘grant’
A profit-a-prendre (profit) on the other hand is defined as: the right to go to another’s land and remove something that exists there naturally. Examples include a right to remove soil/mineral or to graze sheep on another’s land. Profits can appear in gross (completely separate not attached to a dominant land) or appurtenant (can only be used by owner of the adjacent property).
As with easements, there is a requirement for there to be a servient land over which the right exists, however with profits there must always be a dominant land benefitted by the right.