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 deny the claimants’ title.
Held: The appeal failed. A finding by the ECHR that a particular area falls within the contracting states’ margin of appreciation is therefore a signal to the national judge that the decision of the national authorities as to the content of rights within that area should receive appropriate respect. The court was to apply Pye -v- United Kingdom. The margin of appreciation given to a national court was not something to be retested on each adverse possession case. A person believing himself to be a tenant may still be in adverse possession, even if his belief that he is a tenant is incorrect. The statement in the pleadings did not amount to an acknowledgement.
Arden LJ, May LJ, Sir Martin Nourse
 EWCA Civ 7,  HRLR 20,  3 WLR 1253,  UKHRR 447,  Ch 1,  NPC 8
Limitation Act 1980 29, Land Registration Act 1925 75(1), Human Rights Act 1998 2
England and Wales
Cited – J 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 . .
Applied – J 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. . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Belfast City Council v Miss Behavin’ Ltd HL 25-Apr-2007
Belfast had failed to license sex shops. The company sought review of the decision not to grant a licence.
Held: The council’s appeal succeeded. The refusal was not a denial of the company’s human rights: ‘If article 10 and article 1 of . .
Cited – Regina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
Cited – Miailhe v France (No 2) ECHR 26-Sep-1996
Hudoc Preliminary objection joined to merits (victim); Preliminary objection rejected (victim); Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); Preliminary objection rejected (ratione materiae); No violation of . .
No longer correct – Beaulane 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 . .
Cited – Powell v McFarlane ChD 1977
A squatter had occupied the land and defended a claim for possession. The court discussed the conditions necessary to establish an intention to possess land adversely to the paper owner.
Held: Slade J said: ‘In the absence of evidence to the . .
Cited – Buckinghamshire County Council v Moran CA 13-Feb-1989
The parties’ respective properties were separated by a fence or hedge and the true owner had no access to the disputed land. In 1967 the Defendants’ predecessors in title began to maintain the land by mowing the grass and trimming the hedges and . .
Cited – Lodge (T/A JD Lodge) v Wakefield Metropolitan Council CA 21-Mar-1995
The plaintiff had formerly been a tenant of the defendant under an informal tenancy. No rent had been paid since 1974. He claimed to have acquired the land by adverse possession. He gave evidence at trial that if he had been asked to pay rent at any . .
Cited – Re Flynn (no 2) 1969
An acknowledgement of title to restart a limitation period must be precisely focused on a disputed right. . .
Cited – Surrendra Overseas Ltd v Government of Sri Lanka 1977
A debtor can only be held to have acknowledged the claim if he has in effect admitted his legal liability to pay that which the plaintiff seeks to recover. An acknowledgement of part only of a debt cannot operate to acknowledge more.
Kerr J . .
Cited – Markfield Investments Ltd v Evans CA 9-Nov-2000
The claimants were paper owners of land occupied by the defendant. The claimant said the acquiescence had been interrupted by an abortive court action by the claimant’s predecessor in title.
Held: With regard to any particular action the . .
Cited – BP Properties Ltd v Buckler CA 31-Jul-1987
The putative owner of the paper title wrote to the defendant who occupied the relevant property in October 1974 as follows: ‘Since we wish to help you as much as possible we are prepared to allow you to remain in occupation of the house and garden . .
Cited – Horner v Cartwright CA 11-Jul-1989
Stuart Smith LJ discussed the status of pleadings in a limitation as an acknowledgement: ‘It is unnecessary for the purpose of this judgment to deal with Mr. Horner’s submission that a statement in an action once it is contained in a pleading enures . .
Cited – Rush and Tomkins Ltd v Greater London Council HL 3-Nov-1988
The parties had entered into contracts for the construction of dwellings. The contractors sought payment. The council alleged shortcomings in the works. The principal parties had settled the dispute, but a sub-contractor now sought disclosure of the . .
Cited – Re Gee and Co (Woolwich) Ltd 1975
Company accounts can acknowledge the company’s liability for debts as at the date at which the accounts are drawn up even if they are not finalised and signed until after that date. . .
Cited – Handyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .
Appeal from – Ofulue and Another v Bossert HL 11-Mar-2009
The parties disputed ownership of land, one claiming adverse possession. In the course of negotations, the possessor made a without prejudice offer to purchase the paper owner’s title. The paper owner claimed that this was an acknowledgement under . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 February 2021; Ref: scu.264011