Eviction of Squatter Cows causes Legal Precedent on Adverse Possession?
mark at tlio.org.uk
Mon Apr 4 19:23:13 BST 2005
News story below. A legal precedent against the 12 year rule on
adverse possession? However, I thought the 12 year law had been
by the Land Registration Act of a few years ago
I don't know what's more depressing - the legal implications, or the
Conservative Harrovian Editorial below it. I will be writing a
worded response for their letters page. Outstanding one-liners and
venomous rebuttal of the lame intellectual dishonesty and sneeringly
right-wing assumptions of the editorial would be greatly appreciated.
signed, a disgruntled transitory part-time "Harrovian"(not all
are from Harrow School btw).
Landmark case evicts squatter cows
By James Brockett
The Harrow Times
31st March 2005
A HARROW legal team has won a landmark ruling on behalf of a Wembley
which challenges previous laws over so-called "squatter's rights".
Beaulane Properties Ltd, based in Wembley Hill Road, had been locked
dispute with farmer Terence Palmer over a two-and-a-half acre field
Heathrow Airport. They owned the field for more than a decade, but had
left it unused, hoping to take advantage of future planning
Meanwhile, neighbour Mr Palmer had grazed cattle on the land since
Under the law of "adverse possession" an illegal occupant of a
can still claim its title if they stay on the land for more than 12
without the owner taking steps to evict them. However, Vyman
acting for Beaulane, successfully argued that this was not compatible
the Human Rights Act 1998. In a decision which could have wind-ranging
consequences, the Judge agreed, saying that for Beaulane to lose the
would be "disproportionate".
Jeremy Berg of Vyman Solicitors said: "The case is unique in English
It illustrates how the Human Rights Act can be used to bring about a
outcome which would not otherwise have been achievable.The result is a
tribute to the work of Counsel, Peter Knox, and to the efforts which
been made by the legal team involved, namely Peter, Anup Vyas and me.
"I am delighted at this outcome, especially since the land at the
the dispute is potentially extremely valuable (with planning
it may be worth over £1,000,000) and of great importance to our
It is believed to be the first time that the Human Rights Act, which
into effect in 2000, has been used in this country to intervene in
4:57pm Thursday 31st March 2005
Until the cows come home
Harrowvians must be feeling especially proud this week as our fine
again enters the history books.
As we report, a local firm of solicitors has helped set a legal
by winning a ruling from a judge in the Royal Courts of Justice that
much maligned (in some circles at least) Human Rights Act supersedes
ancient principle of "squatters' Rights".
Landlords the length of the realm are cheering to hear the news that
legal owners to lose their property to someone who has managed to keep
hold of it for 12 years would be "disproportionate".
Of course this so-called "adverse possession" could be avoided if the
owner took steps to take back control of their property by evicting
squatters. In most cases this surely happens. But there are times
good reason the squatters go unchallenged until it is too late.
The judge's decision is both just and sensible, although it is sad
British government sought to end this anomoly and it was left to the
to do so using a law essentially imposed on this country by the EU.
But it is the result that counts.
There will however be those who do not welcome this move, among them
who champion squatters' rights over those of legal owners.
Some will argue that a landlord who takes so little interest in his
property that he ignores it for 12 years, allowing others to take it
care for, maintain and sometimes improve it, deserves to lose it.
And what about the "animal rights" brigade?
You can be sure that somewhere this legal ruling is being met with
of what about the cows?" And what about the poor cows indeed?
We don't know how lush the disputed pasture in the shadow of Heathrow
airport is (although one can make a shrewd guess).
But those who firmly believe that dumb animals are entitled to
same legal rights as humans will be complaining that the interests of
bovine squatters were not taken into account by the court.
One thing is a cast iron certainty: this ruling is not the last the
will hear of the issue.
Lawyers will be rubbing their hands with glee, like their landlord
clients, looking forwards to the many years of lucrative work that lie
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