The answer to RM Napier’s plea for something to be done about old covenants is timely. The Law Commission is consulting on its 12th programme of law reform and this may be an area it could consider. However, in the meantime he may take some comfort from the decision of Hepworth v Pickles [1900] 1 Ch 108 that, where a covenant affecting real property has been openly and uninterruptedly broken for more than 20 years, a waiver or release of such covenant will be presumed.

Russell Hewitson, principal lecturer in law, Newcastle Business School and Northumbria School of Law, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne