This topic looks at the law of “adverse possession” – which allows squatters to acquire ownership of someone else’s land, in certain circumstances. We will examine, in particular, the case of JA Pye (Oxford) Ltd v Graham, in which the House of Lords decided that under English law, squatters had become the owners of a multi-million pound plot of land that the original owner had earmarked for development. Why was the case decided in this way? Can we justify the outcome? And what happened when the original owners appealed the decision to the European Court of Human Rights?
The following activities will draw on your analytical skills (by asking you to consider and apply technical legal rules), and will also encourage you to evaluate the law (by thinking critically about whether or not the current rules and outcomes can be justified). As you go through the activities, try to remain as open-minded as possible, so that you are in a position to think objectively about the state of the current law.
Work through the activities below in order, watching the videos at appropriate points in the activity as indicated in the text.