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Land LawText, Cases & Materials

Land Law: Text, Cases & Materials (4th edn)

Ben McFarlane and Sarah Nield
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date: 31 March 2023

p. 3099. Adverse Possessionlocked

p. 3099. Adverse Possessionlocked

  • Ben McFarlane, Ben McFarlaneProfessor of Law, University College London
  • Nicholas HopkinsNicholas HopkinsLaw Commissioner for England and Wales and Professor of Law, University of Reading
  •  and Sarah NieldSarah NieldProfessor of Property Law, University of Southampton


All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter investigates in detail adverse possession. The acquisition of title by adverse possession consists of two distinct stages: firstly, the inception of adverse possession; and, secondly, the operation of limitation rules at the end of the requisite period of adverse possession. The operation of adverse possession reflects the ideas underlying unregistered titles. The operation of adverse possession is generally incompatible with the ideas underpinning registration of title, and this led to significant reforms in the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002). The LRA 2002 provides a new scheme of adverse possession through which title is obtained by registration rather than by possession. A criminal offence of squatting in a residential building was introduced in 2012, but it has been held that the commission of the offence does not preclude a claim to title by adverse possession under the LRA 2002. Adverse possession rules have been held to be human rights compliant.

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