J 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 possidendi, an intention to assert an interest contrary to that of the owner. The original relationship had envisaged continued use until the land would receive planning permission. The claim for possession by the original owners succeeded.
Mummery LJ said that Article 1 did not impinge on the relevant provisions of the Limitation Act 1980, which did not deprive a person of his possessions or interfere with his peaceful enjoyment of them but only deprived a person of his right of access to the courts for the purpose of recovering property if he had delayed the institution of his legal proceedings for 12 years or more after being dispossessed by another. The extinction of the applicants’ title was not a deprivation of possessions nor a confiscatory measure for which payment of compensation would be appropriate, but a logical and pragmatic consequence of the barring of the right to bring an action after the expiration of the limitation period. Any deprivation was justified in the public interest, the conditions laid down in the 1980 Act being reasonably required to avoid the risk of injustice in the adjudication of stale claims and as ensuring certainty of title: those conditions were not disproportionate, the period of 12 years being reasonable and not imposing an excessively difficult burden on the landowner.
Lord Justice Keene started from the assumption that limitation periods were in principle not incompatible with the Convention and that the process whereby a person would be barred from enforcing rights by the passage of time was clearly acknowledged by the Convention. This position obtained, in his view, even though limitation periods both limited the right of access to the courts and in some circumstances had the effect of depriving persons of property rights, whether real or personal, or of damages: there was thus nothing inherently incompatible as between the 1980 Act and Article 1 of the Protocol.


Mummery, Keene LJJ, Sir Martin Nourse


Gazette 22-Feb-2001, Times 13-Feb-2001, [2001] EWCA Civ 117, [2001] Ch 804, [2001] 2 WLR 1293, (2001) 82 P and CR DG1, [2001] 18 EG 176, [2001] 2 EGLR 69, (2001) 82 P and CR 23, [2001] HRLR 27, [2001] 7 EGCS 161, [2001] NPC 29




Limitation Act 1980 15 38 Sch 8 paras 1 and 8, European Convention on Human Rights 1


England and Wales


Appeal fromJ 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 . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromJ 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 . .
CitedMalekshad v Howard De Walden Estates Limited CA 23-May-2001
The applicant sought the leasehold enfranchisement of two leasehold properties. They were contained in separate leases, but the property had been treated as one for some time. A part of one property extended under part of the other. The claim was . .
CitedJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd and Another v Graham and Another CA 6-Feb-2001
Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused. . .
At Court of AppealJ 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 . .
CitedMann Aviation Group (Engineering) Ltd v Longmint Aviation Ltd and Another ChD 19-Aug-2011
Administrators of the claimant company asserted that the company had held informal leases of two hangars owned by the defendant, and also complained of their transfer at an undervalue. The first defendant said that the occupations were under license . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Limitation, Human Rights

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135590