Adverse Possession

Mark P. Thompson and Martin George

in Thompson's Modern Land Law

Sixth edition

Published on behalf of © Mark P. Thompson & Martin George 2017

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780198722830
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191797811 | DOI:
Adverse Possession

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According to Section 17 of England’s Limitation Act 1980, a person who loses the right to recover possession of land also loses his title to that land. The corollary is that the person who takes possession of the land acquires ownership rights. In cases where title is unregistered, English Land Law provides that ownership of land or, more accurately, estates in land, is a relative concept. In a dispute over entitlement to possession of land, the court must determine which of the two claimants has a better right to possess, rather than who is the owner. This chapter explains legal aspects of possessing land titles in England. After providing an overview of land ownership and possession, it discusses the rationale of the statute of limitation, the link between registered land and human rights, limitation under the Limitation Act 1980, the accrual of a right of action, and adverse possession.

Keywords: land ownership; England; Limitation Act 1980; adverse possession; land titles; statute of limitation; registered land; human rights; right of action

Chapter.  24244 words. 

Subjects: Land Law

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