Dr Anita PurewalLecturer in Law (Teaching & Scholarship)
My research interests derive from the fields of property and land law, with particular focus on the sentimental attachments to property and compulsory purchase laws, namely the adequacy of the compensation awarded when homes are compulsorily purchased in the UK.
Beyond property law, my research interests also derive from the field of environmental law, particularly regulatory theory, climate change matters, the regulation of flooding, and the planning of infrastructure developments, such as HS2.
More general research interests derive from the field of equity and trusts, including critical analyses of fiduciary duties, the separation of title, and trustees' duties.
To what extent is the sentimental attachment to property recognised in legal, political and social discourse, and what are the consequences of this recognition for compensation for compulsory purchase?
It may be presumed that the UK’s compensation code fairly compensates those subject to compulsory purchase given its awarding of home loss payments, payments which recognise the sentimental value of one’s home. However, despite providing just awards at face value, this perception is only valid to an extent since UK compensation fails to consistently recompense this recognised sentimental aspect of property ownership today. This consequently impacts the awarding of full and justified compensation for all whose homes are compulsorily acquired since such awards are ‘additional’, and not a core component of compensation’s assessment.
In light of the UK’s failure to endorse sentiment as a guaranteed compensatory value, and the subsequent failure of contemporary theories of property to recognise the importance of sentimental attachments in this context, this thesis aims to consider the necessity for the law’s reform, and the consequential development of contemporary theories to explain and justify such changes. To do so, this thesis will examine: the uniform recognition of a sentimental attachment to property across discourses; the implications of such recognition on UK legislation and theoretical understandings of property; and whether legal reform, through means of incorporating sentiment within the compensation code as an obligatory value to be recompensed when homes are acquired, is necessary to address such issues. As will be demonstrated, the failure of the compensation code to recognise sentiment as a guaranteed compensable value hinders the awarding of full and fair compensation for all compulsory purchases of the home, leading the thesis to urge such legislative reforms to ensure the UK secures compensation of equivalence to the losses suffered in practice.
Thus, the thesis aims to highlight the current gaps within UK compensatory provisions and the need for their reform in light of the uniform recognition of the importance of sentimental attachments to property.
Dr Benjamin Mayfield and Dr Lu Xu
The 2021 Festival of Social Science
Trusts & Estates Law & Tax Journal (Journal)