On appeal from: [2009] EWCA Civ 579

The appellant landowner appealed against the quantum of damages awarded to it following a decision that the respondent oil company had committed an actionable trespass. Appeal dismissed, cross-appeal dismissed. The appellant’s title did extend down to the strata below the surface through which the wells passed. The owner of the surface of land was the owner of the strata beneath it, including the minerals that were to be found there, unless there had been an alienation of them by a conveyance, Mitchell approved. There had obviously to be some stopping point, as one reached the point at which physical features such as pressure and temperature rendered the concept of the strata belonging to anybody so absurd as to be not worth arguing about. But the wells in this case were far from being so deep as to reach the point of absurdity; indeed, the fact that the strata could be worked upon at the depths in question pointed to the opposite conclusion.

For judgment, please download: [2010] UKSC 35
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