Hounslow Borough Council v Minchington: CA 1997

There may be circumstances where a squatter is deemed to be in actual possession of the land (a strip of rough land at the bottom of the appellant’s garden) providing he is the only person in effective control of it despite the fact that the true owner makes some limited use of the land, not amounting to effective control of it. One of the arguments concerned the significance of a fence which they had erected. Counsel argued that the fence had been erected to keep the squatters’ dogs in rather than to keep the paper owner out, and that consequently it did not demonstrate the necessary intention. Enclosure is strong evidence of discontinuance of possession.
Millett LJ considered a claim for adverse possession: ‘So far as the defendant’s animus possidendi is concerned, Mr Lewison relied upon the fact that Mrs Ritter and after her the defendant or Mr Collins’ enclosure of the land was in order to keep their dogs in rather than other persons out. But their motive is irrelevant. The important thing is that they were intending to allow their dogs to make full use of what they plainly regarded as their land, and which they used as their land. They wanted to keep their dogs within the boundaries of their own land. That was a perfectly understandable usage, but the enclosure which it made necessary was inconsistent with any continuance of possession of the council. The defendant and his predecessors in title had to keep the council out if they were to keep their dogs in.’

Millet LJ
(1997) 74 P and CR 221
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedChambers v London Borough of Havering CA 20-Dec-2011
The defendant appealed against an order for him to surrender possession of land he had claimed by adverse possession. The Council was the registered proprietor. The defendant said he had used the land since 1981 for dumping of motor vehicle parts. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.450122