J A Pye and Another v Graham and Another: ChD 14 Mar 2000

The fact alone of being prepared to take a licence of land would not defeat an application for adverse possession, but a request for a licence would be relevant. The adverse possession commenced from the time when the licence expired, given that a sufficient animus was then established. The reference in the section to the taking of action did not apply to an application to warn off the cautions made to the Land Registry which was not a court, and the application was not an application to recover land. Since the Grahams enjoyed factual possession of the land from January 1984, and adverse possession took effect from September 1984, the applicant company’s title was extinguished pursuant to the 1980 Act, and the Grahams were entitled to be registered as proprietors of the land. ‘[The Grahams] sought rights to graze or cut grass on the land after the summer of 1984, and were quite prepared to pay. When Pye failed to respond they did what any other farmer in their position would have done: they continued to farm the land. They were not at fault. But the result of Pye’s inaction was that they enjoyed the full use of the land without payment for 12 years. As if that were not gain enough, they are then rewarded by obtaining title to this considerable area of valuable land without any obligation to compensate the former owner in any way at all. In the case of unregistered land, and in the days before registration became the norm, such a result could no doubt be justified as avoiding protracted uncertainty where the title to land lay. But where land is registered it is difficult to see any justification for a legal rule which compels such an apparently unjust result, and even harder to see why the party gaining title should not be required to pay some compensation at least to the party losing it. It is reassuring to learn that the Land Registration Act 2002 has addressed the risk that a registered owner may lose his title through inadvertence. But the main provisions of that Act have not yet been brought into effect, and even if they had it would not assist Pye, whose title had been lost before the passing of the Act. While I am satisfied that the appeal must be allowed for the reasons given by my noble and learned friend, this is a conclusion which I (like the judge [Neuberger J]…) ‘arrive at with no enthusiasm’.’
Neuberger J
Gazette 17-Feb-2000, Gazette 24-Feb-2000, Times 14-Mar-2000, [2000] Ch 676, [2000] 3 All ER 865
Limitation Act 1980 15(1) 17
England and Wales
DistinguishedWalters v Webb 1870
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CitedVandeleur v Sloane 1919
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Cited by:
Appeal fromJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd and Another v Caroline Graham and Another CA 6-Feb-2001
Where a tenant under a grazing license had stayed over after the end of the tenancy, and had been refused a renewed licence, and had continued to graze the land for over twelve years, the mere overstaying was not enough to evidence an animus . .
At first instanceJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd and Others v Graham and Another HL 4-Jul-2002
The claimants sought ownership by adverse possession of land. Once the paper owner had been found, they indicated a readiness to purchase their interest. The court had found that this letter contradicted an animus possidendi. The claimant had . .
At first instanceJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Nov-2005
The claimants had been the registered proprietors of land, they lost it through the adverse possession of former tenants holding over. They claimed that the law had dispossessed them of their lawful rights.
Held: The cumulative effect of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 October 2021; Ref: scu.85085