J 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 provisions of the 1980 and 1925 legislation was to deprive the claimant of their possessions without compensation. The requirement on them to recover possession was an excessive burden and upset the fair balance between the demands of the public interest and the right of the claimants to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. ‘The Court does not share the Government’s view that the operation of the legislation is to be regarded as an incident of, or limitation on, the applicants’ property right at the time of its acquisition, such that Article 1 ceased to be engaged when the relevant provisions took effect and the property right was lost after 12 years of adverse possession. It is true that the relevant provisions of the legislation existed at the time the property was acquired by the applicants and that the consequences for the applicants’ title to the land of 12 years adverse possession were known. However, Article 1 does not cease to be engaged merely because a person acquires property subject to the provisions of the general law, the effect of which is in certain specified events to bring the property right to an end, and because those events have in fact occurred. Whether it does so will depend on whether the law in question is properly to be seen as qualifying or limiting the property right at the moment of acquisition or, whether it is rather to be seen as depriving the owner of an existing right at the point when the events occur and the law takes effect. It is only in the former case that Article 1 may be held to have no application.’
44302/02, Times 21-Nov-2005, [2005] 3 EGLR 1, [2007] ECHR 5559, 43 EHRR 3, [2005] 47 EG 145, [2006] RVR 188, [2005] 49 ERG 90, (2006) 43 EHRR 3, 19 BHRC 705
Limitation Act 1980, Land Registration Act 1925, European Convention on Human Rights A1P1
Human Rights
At House of LordsJ 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 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 . .
At Court of AppealJ 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 . .
CitedGasus Dosier-Und Fodertechnik Gmbh v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Feb-1995
Even where an interference in property rights involved the complete loss of a person’s economic interest in an asset for the benefit of the State, an absence of compensation might still be compatible with Article 1. ‘The Court recalls that the . .
CitedBeyeler v Italy ECHR 5-Jan-2000
The concept of ‘possessions’ in Art. 1 has an autonomous meaning which is not limited to ownership of physical goods and is independent from the formal classification in domestic law, and requires the examination of the question whether the . .
CitedBeaulane Properties Ltd v Palmer ChD 23-Mar-2005
The paper owner sought possession of land. The defendant said he had acquired a possessory title. The land was registered.
Held: The claimant’s human rights under article 1 were engaged. To be justifiable, the interference in that right had to . .
CitedBruncrona v Finland ECHR 16-Nov-2004
ECHR Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) – Preliminary objection dismissed (six month period, non-exhaustion of domestic remedies); Violation of P1-1;Just satisfaction reserved. . .
CitedJames and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1986
The claimants challenged the 1967 Act, saying that it deprived them of their property rights when lessees were given the power to purchase the freehold reversion.
Held: Article 1 (P1-1) in substance guarantees the right of property. Allowing a . .
CitedPapachelas v Greece ECHR 25-Mar-1999
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (six month period); No violation of Art. 6-1; No violation of P1-1 (amount of compensation); Violation of P1-1 (presumption); Costs and . .
CitedHakansson And Sturesson v Sweden ECHR 21-Feb-1990
Where agricultural property is bought subject to the conditions of the general law, and the purchaser is subsequently obliged to re-sell the property at a substantially lower price, the Court will consider the lawfulness and purpose of the . .
CitedJahn And Others v Germany ECHR 30-Jun-2005
A deprivation of property without compensation can, in certain circumstances, be compatible with Article 1. . .
CitedJokela v Finland ECHR 21-May-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of P1-1; No violation of Art. 6-1 with regard to witnesses; No violation of Art. 6-1 with regard to reasons for decision; Pecuniary damage – financial . .
CitedThe Former King Of Greece And Others v Greece ECHR 23-Nov-2000
Hudoc Violation of P1-1; Not necessary to examine Art. 14 + P1-1; Just satisfaction reserved . .
CitedAGOSI v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Oct-1986
Krugerrand coins were seized by the Commissioners and the claimant was unsuccessful in obtaining their restoration under what is now section 152(b) of the 1979 Act. It was argued that the request for restoration of the coins amounted to a . .
CitedStran Greek Refineries and Stratis Andreadis v Greece ECHR 9-Dec-1994
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion, estoppel); Violation of Art. 6-1; Violation of P1-1; Pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses partial . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedGudmundsson v Iceland ECHR 1996
A revocation of a licence is not a deprivation of property, but rather a control of its use within the second paragraph of article 1 under a proportionate and Convention compliant scheme . .
CitedStubbings and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Oct-1996
There was no human rights breach where the victims of sex abuse had been refused a right to sue for damages out of time. The question is whether and to what extent differences in otherwise similar situations justify a different treatment in law: . .
AdmissibilityJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 8-Jun-2004
Admissibility . .

Cited by:
CitedOxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council and others HL 24-May-2006
Application had been made to register as a town or village green an area of land which was largely a boggy marsh. The local authority resisted the application wanting to use the land instead for housing. It then rejected advice it received from a . .
Appeal fromJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 30-Aug-2007
UK Advers Possession Law – Not Compliant
The claimant had said that the UK law which allowed it to lose land by virtue of twelve year’s occupation by a squatter, interfered with its right to ownership of property.
Held: The UK law on adverse possession did comply with the Convention. . .
CitedOfulue and Another v Bossert CA 29-Jan-2008
The claimants appealed an order finding that the defendant had acquired their land by adverse possession. They said that the defendant had asserted in defence to possession proceedings that they were tenants, and that this contradicted an intent to . .
First HearingPye v United Kingdom ECHR 8-Nov-2006
Press announcement – Grand Chamber hearing . .
CitedJP Whitter (Water Well Engineers) Ltd v Revenue and Customs SC 13-Jun-2018
The taxpayers registration under the Construction Industry Scheme had been withdrawn. The Court was now asked whether HMRC are obliged, or at least entitled, to take into account the impact on the taxpayer’s business of the cancellation of its . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 July 2021; Ref: scu.235149