Land Law – Assignment No 1.
The area of law which Alfred’s situation concerns is adverse possession. Adverse possession can be defined as “occupation of land in a manner intentionally inconsistent with the rights of the person entitled to it and without his permission”.
The doctrine of adverse possession under Paragraph 1 (1) Schedule 6 of the Land Registration Act 2002 provides Alfred with the necessary catalyst he requires to commence a claim for the strip of land. However he must provide evidence to support that he was in adverse possession for over 10 years.
Adverse possession is a question of fact and is not always an easy matter to decide.
Therefore I would not encourage Alfred to become over reliant upon common law decisions.
Alfred must also provide that he had the requisite intention to possess the land. Exactly what the squatter is meant to intend to do has been a trivial issue for many years, however in the case of Buckinghamshire County Council v Moran Slade LJ stated that the squatter must intend to possess the land. However this decision was heavily criticized and the issue has now been resolved at the House of Lords in J.A. Pye (Oxford) Ltd v. Graham, where it was held that the squatter merely had to have the intention to possess the land. There is no requirement to have further intention of excluding the owner or of being the owner of the land.
In order for Alfred to establish the requisite intention to possess the land, it is not required that his intention need be hostile in anyway towards Brenda. It may be considered that Alfred regards the land mistakenly as his own anyway, in which case the requisite intention to possess will be easy to establish in accordance with Pulleyn v. Hall Aggregates (1992). It could be regarded that Alfred does regard the land as is own, even though mistakenly. It would be reasonable for any one to assume that they are in possession of land enclosed within their estate which is separated from there neighbour by a fence. Furthermore, the fact that Alfred was intending to build a garage and incorporate a driveway on this strip of land, supports the idea that he must have regarded the land as his own and therefore must have had the intention to possess the land.
If adverse possession is present in Alfred’s circumstances, and there appears to be a high chance that the courts would acknowledge this, then the Land Registration Act 2002 plays a more pivotal role in providing Alfred with the opportunities to be registered as the proprietor of the strip of land.
If adverse possession is proved then as Alfred has been in possession of the strip of land for longer than 10 years (on the date of application) he can make an application to the registrar. Once this application has been submitted the registrar must notify the proprietor of the estate to which the application relates, the proprietor of any registered charge on the estate, and such other person as rules may provide. These persons will then have 13 weeks to respond to the application. If there is no response then Alfred is entitled to be registered as the new proprietor of the land.