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The Principles of Land Law

The Principles of Land Law (1st edn)

Emma Lees
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date: 29 May 2024

p. 1626. Adverse Possessionlocked

p. 1626. Adverse Possessionlocked

  • Emma LeesEmma LeesLecturer in Environmental and Property Law, University of Cambridge


This chapter focuses on adverse possession, which is the obtention of title to land by means of possession without permission. It is the natural and logical consequence of the combination of the principle of relativity of title and of limitation (time limits) on actions. The chapter then analyses the rules relating to adverse possession, considering both unregistered land and registered land. Adverse possession is one of the few areas where the unregistered land rules are still regularly taught. The chapter also looks at the special situation which emerges when the rules on adverse possession interact with leases. Moreover, it examines the relationship between the adverse possession rules and criminal law. Finally, the chapter explores the justifications or explanations behind adverse possession, including the relationship between these rules and human rights.

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