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Are you claiming land?
Possessory Title Claims to end?
It has long been part of our law that if I take possession of land which belongs to somebody else, and, if I hold it long enough, and he does nothing to object, then I will come eventually to own the land. There are in fact many people who are in this position in one way or another, and whilst sometimes this appears to be dishonest, many times it is a genuine dispute which is left unresolved.
There have been murmurings from the government (April 2000) to suggest that this law may eventually be changed. Just what would happen, and how, may be unclear for many years, but it appears that there could come a point where people who might wish to make such a claim will find that the law has changed in such a way as to defeat that claim. Such murmurings are small, but once the idea takes hold, who knows where it will end.
What we believe should be done is that those clients who assert such a claim should consider now making a formal application to the Land Registry for possessory title to the land. The title obtained would, at this stage be only limited in value, but time will help.
The grant of a possessory title is not a decision by the Land Registry that you have a perfect title, a title "good against the world", but it does say that anybody else who wishes to assert a better claim will have to prove it.
The law on this is not always straight forward, and depending upon the situation, there are often things which can be done at an early stage which will improve substantially, the chances that the claim when finally submitted will be successful.
We are happy to discuss with clients what might be done to strengthen a claim in such circumstances and, if appropriate, to prepare and submit an application to the Land Registry.
This issue has now moved on, and claiming possessory title againt registered land is now and in particular very much more difficult. Each case is different, and the Land Registry now require applications to contain much more detail. We are happy to have an initia;l discussion with you about whether a claim may be worth a full assessment before submission.
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