chapter  14
30 Pages

Adverse possession

WithJudith Bray

This chapter explains what is meant by adverse possession. It describes what is meant by ‘factual possession’. The chapter discusses what is meant by ‘intention to possess’. It explores the effect on the doctrine of adverse possession of the Land Registration Act 2002 and how adverse possessory rights might be acquired under the Act. The chapter examines the effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the doctrine of adverse possession. It presents reasons in favour and against the recognition of the doctrine of adverse possession. Martin Dockray argued strongly in 1985 in favour of upholding adverse possession. Adverse possession runs counter to the spirit of land registration. Since the Registrar is guaranteeing the title once it has been entered on the Register it is contrary to this underlying principle to allow title to be lost through adverse possession. ‘Adverse possession’ means that rights of ownership in land are acquired by simply taking possession of the land.