Equivocal acts, such as use of the land for grazing animals from time to time or allowing children to play on the land, will not be sufficient
Graham Gooch and Michael Williams, “A Dictionary of Law Enforcement”, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
adverse possession
The occupation of land to which another person (the paper owner) has title, with the intention of possessing it as one's own. The leading case on adverse possession is Pye v Graham [2002] UKHL 30, [2003] 1 AC 419. That case confirmed that, in order to adversely possess land, the adverse possessor (“squatter”) must dispossess the paper owner by exercising exclusive physical possession of the land with the intention of possessing it to the exclusion of all others, without the consent of the paper owner.
The effect of adverse possession depends upon whether the land is registered or unregistered, and on the date of the adverse possession. If the land is unregistered, the effect of the Limitation Act 1980 is that in most casesadverse possession for 12 years or more extinguishes the title of the paper owner. The squatter becomes legally entitled to the land. In the case of registered land, where the limitation period of 12 years has been completed before 13 October 2003, 12 years' adverse possession will oblige the paper owner to hold the land on trust for the squatter under section 75 of the Land Registration Act 1925. The squatter is entitled to apply to the Land Registry to have the title transferred into his name. Where the limitation period of 12 years has not been completed before 13 October 2003, the Land Registration Act 2002 applies. After 10 years' adverse possession, the squatter may apply to be registered as the proprietor of the land. The Land Registrar will write to the registered proprietor and others interested in the land (such as mortgagees) to inform them of the application. Those notified have 65 working days to reply objecting to the application. If no objection is received, the...