Landmark case on Adverse Possession

The Court of Appeal has found that repaving a forecourt is enough to obtain possession in a claim for ‘adverse possession’. The decision, in the case of Thorpe v Frank [2019] EWCA Civ 150. widens the grounds required to establish factual possession, and now means that fencing or enclosing land is no longer an absolute requirement to demonstrating possession.

In simple terms, adverse possession is the process by which a person, who is not the legal owner of the land, can become the legal owner by possessing the land for a specified period of time, usually 12 years.

Whilst this case was fact specific, it has shown that what might appear at first to be a temporary trespass could in fact result in possession being acquired over the land in question. In deciding whether an act is sufficient to demonstrate the necessary requirements of adverse possession, one must consider the nature of the land and the manner in which it is used. Expert advice should be sought if you are unsure of your rights.

If you require advice on adverse possession, or any other conveyancing matter, please contact our conveyancing team for a free consultation.