UK law relating to commons and greens

Steve Byrne tony at
Thu Feb 9 16:27:31 GMT 2006

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[FAO Publications Dept (Property and Conveyancing Library), Sweet & Maxwell]

Dear Sir/Madam


I am writing to you about a book listed on your website with an estimated 
publication date of September 2006 [Edward Cousins & Nicholas Le Poidevin, 
*Gadsden on Commons and Greens* (ISBN 0421851007)]. I understand this to be 
a second, revised edition of G D Gadsden’s *The Law of Commons*. The latter 
was published by Sweet & Maxwell in 1988 and has been out-of-print now for 
some time. It is, however, generally recognised to be the definitive text on 
the law of commons and greens.

I’ve no doubt that copies of the original edition have been 
eagerly-sought-after for years by academics, lawyers and public officials 
whose work is related to this area of law. This is certainly true for a 
whole range of individuals and organisations in the voluntary sector. It’s 
on behalf of this last group that I’m writing to you now, with specific 
reference to the estimated price of the new edition (£159.00).

Can you say if there is any intention to publish a less expensive version of 
the book? At a price that would make it affordable to those who are not 
legal professionals but who have an equal need for access to an 
authoritative text?

My own interest is as a researcher and a writer published in this field. I 
personally could not afford the new ‘Gadsden’; and have been informed by my 
local library (Lancashire County Library) that they could not, because of 
the price, think of acquiring a copy. The same would be true for most public 
libraries. Where, moreover, a copy was acquired, the library concerned would 
probably be unwilling for it to be lent out under the inter-library-loans 

There have been numerous changes in recent years affecting the law of 
commons and greens (e.g. Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; a whole 
series of judgements in the House of Lords). These – together with the 
wide-ranging reforms proposed in the Commons Bill now before parliament – 
mean that there is a crying need for a new edition of Gadsden’s original 
book. The same changes, however, have made the need for a text that is 
affordable all the more urgent. The Commons Bill, in particular, will affect 
groups and individuals of the kind I have referred to above on a practical, 
day-to-day basis. In the past, perhaps, the need for an authoritative text 
was an occasional necessity. That need may now be much more frequent and 
more pressing.

I’m sure the proposed hardback will sell. There is, however, also a market 
for a cheaper (paperback?) edition. In this case, indeed, the demand would 
almost certainly be much greater than that for the book as it is presently 

Yours faithfully

Steve Byrne
stbyr at
Mr S Byrne, 34 Elder Court, Huncoat, ACCRINGTON, Lancs, BB5 6JP

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