Adverse Possession - Nicholson Gordon Law

Adverse Possession Claims

Acquiring land by adverse possession is the process by which a homeowner or landowner who is not the legal owner of a piece of land can become the legal owner by possessing the land for a specified period of time.  We can advise you on whether such an application is likely to succeed, and whether you should either make an application yourself to have land registered in your name, or whether someone claiming possession of your land is likely to succeed.  We know the technical issues important in these cases.

The legal issues are complex, there are two adverse possession regimes in operation in England and Wales, one under the Land Registration Act 2002, and one under the Limitation Act 1980.   We will advise you on which regime applies, and whether your case has good prospects of success.

To succeed in these claims, evidence of the right type is crucial.   Timing is also crucial; whether to succeed in an application for adverse possession or to defeat an individual’s claim to take away land belonging to another.

To speak to a solicitor in relation to your claim for adverse possession contact us online or ring 01664 431 300.

Mr H instructed us to pursue a claim relating to adverse possession of a large strip of land outside the boundaries of his property, but which connected his property to other areas of land owned by him. At the time he had purchased his property he had been advised that obtaining title to the land may be extremely difficult. The legal issues were complex and technical, and other lawyers had achieved little success in resolving issues. We successfully applied to the Land Registry having undertaken a full investigation of the epitome of title and history of the property, and having prepared detailed witness evidence confirming the client's entitlement to claim adverse possession of the unregistered land. The claim was successful and the land was registered in our client's name.

We pursued a claim on behalf of G relating to an area of land occupied by it since 1975. The respondents to the claim, who are registered with title at the Land Registry decided not to defend the claim having been presented with a detailed and unequivocal claim. We find that when adverse possession claims are properly prepared so that the legal issues and factual issues are addressed in the early stages many legal owners decide not to defend the claims. The opposite is true when individuals make applications themselves, without reference to specialist lawyers. On a regular basis the claims are either dismissed by the Land Registry when properly prepared claim would not have been, or are defended by the legal owners when again a properly prepared and factually supported claim would have been allowed to proceed undefended.

Mr K came to us having pursued a great deal of time and effort in moving forward with a claim for adverse possession relating to his land. Unfortunately, there were technical legal issues which meant that his application was doomed to failure. We were able to point this out to him without his incurring significant legal costs, and before the stage had been reached of him pursuing an application in court or at the Land Registry.