Adverse Possession Land Law

Adverse Possession.

The right to claim title through AP has long been established as an integral part of our system of land law. (Wallace) The law relating to acquisition of title by AP in the Republic of Ireland is governed by the Statute of Limitations 1957. The Statute allows for a trespasser to extinguish the rights of the true owner of land if he enjoys 12 years of uninterrupted possession of the land, however this period could be made up by a series of successive squatters. Wallace justifies the doctrine; “the policy considerations which gave birth to it are centred around a desire for stability of title with all its social and economic advantages” and Lyall reinforces the rationalization; “those who have rights should actively pursue them” Another logical reason for the doctrine applies typically in Irish cases where a family deliberately try to save money and rather than administrate their estates taken under intestacy, rely instead on the law of limitation to secure their titles.

In order for time to begin to run against the true owner, Section 14 states “the right of action shall be deemed to have accrued on the date of the dispossession” while Section 18 of the Act goes on to state “no right of action to recover land shall be deemed to accrue unless the land is in possession of some person whose favour the period of limitation can run” As well as this the squatter must have the requisite ‘animus possidendi’ or intention to possess.


Establishing possession or discontinuance thereof seems to sway more in favour of the landowner rather than the squatter in the Republic of Ireland. Buckley “AP at the crossroads” reiterates a passage from Lord O’Hagan in The Lord Advocate v Lord Lovat   (YEAR) that provided much persuasion in subsequent Irish case law relating to possession. “As to possession, it must be considered in every case with reference to the peculiar circumstances…The character and value of the property, the suitable and...