Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) – v – University of London [2018] UKUT 356 (LC)

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Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) – v – University of London [2018] UKUT 356 (LC)

Published 2 November 2018

DAC Beachcroft's Leeds based Real Estate team was instructed to act in the first full decision on the new Electronic Communications Code ("the Code") which has provided much needed clarity for landowners and operators, alike.  

The reference concerned an application for a limited right to access a roof space, and survey the same, to establish whether the site was suitable to install electronic communications apparatus.

Access was refused on the basis that no such right existed under the Code. The Tribunal found in favour of CTIL and has resolved a number of points:

  1. Access to survey land and buildings is a right to which paragraph 3 of the Code applies.
  2. An application under paragraph 26 for an Interim Rights Agreement can be made separately without the need for a paragraph 20 application for permanent Code rights.
  3. The choice of sites is left by the Code to the judgment of the operator. Generally, a comparison between sites will not be required to demonstrate satisfaction of the second paragraph 21 condition.

The guidance offered by the Tribunal's decision should be regarded, by operators, as a benchmark for the extent and manner in which they may exercise their statutory rights. For landowners (and their professional advisors) the decision also offers much needed assistance on the extent of those rights.

In his decision Mr Martin Rodger QC referred to Counsel's "whimsical" remark that in modern life mobile connectivity is seen as a human right. The demand for connectivity and quality of service is clear and present and the momentum, it seems, is with operators. Landowners then are encouraged to engage with operators to avoid similar such applications in future.

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