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Chapter

Cover Land Law Directions

6. Adverse possession  

This chapter discusses the law on adverse possession. It first considers arguments for and against allowing adverse possession. It then describes changes in the law of adverse possession and outlines the main statutory provisions, namely the Limitation Act 1980, the Land Registration Act 1925, and the Land Registration Act 2002. Next, the chapter discusses what a squatter needs to show in order to make a claim to the land and the effects of adverse possession. The old scheme under the Limitation Act 1980 and the new scheme under the Land Registration Act 2002 are compared.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law Concentrate

16. Defences and limitation  

This chapter first discusses the defence of contributory negligence, voluntary assumption of risk, and illegality. Contributory negligence occurs when the claimant has contributed to his own damage, and permits damages to be apportioned according to what is just and equitable. Voluntary assumption of risk is a complete defence, on the basis that the claimant freely agreed to run the risk of damage. Illegality is a complete defence, on the grounds that the law will not reward or appear to condone an illegal act. The chapter then turns to limitation periods, which restrict the amount of time within which legal actions must be commenced. The main statute is the Limitation Act 1980.

Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

20. Limitation of Actions  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

At common law, lapse of time does not affect contractual rights. But it is the policy of the law to discourage stale claims because, after a long period, a defendant may not have the evidence to rebut such claims and should be in a position to know that after a given time an incident which might have led to a claim is finally closed. Accordingly, in the Limitation Act 1980, the Legislature has laid down certain periods of limitation after the expiry of which no action can be maintained. Equity has developed a doctrine of laches, under which a claimant who has not shown reasonable diligence in prosecuting the claim may be barred from equitable relief.

Chapter

Cover Thompson's Modern Land Law

6. Adverse Possession  

According to Section 17 of England’s Limitation Act 1980, a person who loses the right to recover possession of land also loses his title to that land. The corollary is that the person who takes possession of the land acquires ownership rights. In cases where title is unregistered, English Land Law provides that ownership of land or, more accurately, estates in land, is a relative concept. In a dispute over entitlement to possession of land, the court must determine which of the two claimants has a better right to possess, rather than who is the owner. This is not true, however, under the Land Registration Act 2002, and so this chapter deals with 1) the question of how adverse possession is established in all cases, and 2) the question of the effect of an adverse possession claim in both the unregistered and registered systems.

Chapter

Cover Complete Land Law

15. Adverse Possession and the Limitation Acts  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter discusses the basic principles for adverse possession; adverse possession against land which is subject to a lease; and the complex rules applicable where adverse possession is taken against land which is registered title. It covers the rationale of adverse possession; possession giving a right to sue trespassers; the Limitation Act 1980; commencement of adverse possession; offence of squatting in a residential building; preventing the acquisition of title by adverse possession; and the effect of adverse possession.

Chapter

Cover Equity & Trusts Law Directions

15. Breach of trust: defences and relief  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. A trust must be duly administered in accordance with the provisions of the trust instrument, if any, and the general law. Similarly, a trustee should be liable for a dishonest breach of trust. Not every breach of trust is deliberate or dishonest. Liability may arise due to lack of care and other inadvertent breaches of trust, and even due to an essentially ‘technical’ or ‘formal’ breach of fiduciary duty. This chapter examines the extent of trustees’ civil liability for breach of trust, whether there might be a valid defence to a breach of trust and whether a trustee’s liability should be reduced by some form of relief. It looks at the remedies available against trustees for a breach of trust, a claimant’s election between inconsistent remedies, comparison with common law remedies, capital repayment, interest on the judgment, the Limitation Act 1980, the doctrine of laches, the beneficiary’s instigation of or consent to the breach and the beneficiary’s acquiescence in breach.