Factual Possession of the Land in claims for Adverse Possession

Posted · Add Comment

There are two essential elements in establishing possession both of which must be shown to exist in order to be able to establish a claim for adverse possession. These are the existence of uninterrupted factual possession for the requisite period of time and the intention to possess the land during that period.

This article deals with acts that may constitute uninterrupted factual possession for the purposes of the law relating to adverse possession

What must be shown is that the alleged possessor or squatter has been dealing with the land in question as the owner might have done and that no one else has done so.

What the squatter actually does on the land in order to possess does depend upon the land in question. If it is land he may fence it in and/or grow things on it. If it is a house he may live in it.  However, whatever the nature of the land and the action to possess it the squatter must be able to show that he has had exclusive possession of the land without permission of the owner.

The following are examples of cases where the courts have found that the squatter has possessed the land:

If the land was used or could only be used for shooting game and this activity was carried on by a squatter then title could be acquired in this way. See Red House Farms v Catchpole [1977] 2 EGLR 125

In Port of London Authority v Ashmore [2009] EWHC 954 the claimant claimed adverse possession of the river bed with the tide rising and falling twice a day his boat rested on the river bed twice a day. The Port of London argued that this did not amount to continuous unbroken possession of the bed.

The court found in favour of the squatter on the basis that the squatter has been dealing with the land in question as the owner might have (see the definition above) the court looked at the nature of the land and the manner in which land of that nature is commonly used or enjoyed as in the Red Farm case above.

Establishing a claim for adverse possession is not easy and there are many grounds that need to be satisfied before a the Land Tribunal will allow a claim for adverse possession. There are also cost implications.

Quinn & Co have expertise in this area of the law in applying and or objecting to claims for adverse possession. Should you wish to discuss  an application or objection to an application for adverse possession please contact Joseph Quinn on 01392 248858


This article is provided free of charge for information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such.




Ask a Question

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Question