Adverse Possession: A New Test?

    View Author March 2019
    Last month, the UK Court of Appeal handed down its decision in Shirley Ann Thorpe v. Harold Nobert Frank and Lesley Frank [2019] EWCA Civ 150.

    It has long been established that in order to acquire land by adverse possession, the claimant must prove uninterrupted “factual possession” of the land and an intention to possess the land to the exclusion of all others. It has been widely understood that in order to exclude all others from the land (including the owner with the paper title), the squatter must seek to enclose the disputed land to show their intent to possess.

    The Court of Appeal has arguably varied the test for adverse possession by finding in this recent case that enclosure of the land is not an absolute requirement and it is not the only way to assert or achieve possession of the land.