Adverse possession through criminal trespass

Way back when s.144 LASPO 2012 was first proposed, I noted that one of the unaddressed questions (indeed a question that nobody even thought to consider) was how what because s.144 would interact with statute and case law on adverse possession. Now we have an answer (at least pro tem)

Best v The Chief Land Registrar & Anor [2014] EWHC 1370 (Admin)

The brief facts asserted by Mr Best where that he had noticed an empty and vandalised property while working on a property next door in 1997. He had been told that the owner had died and that a son had not been seen for years.

Mr Best entered

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Fiddler under the roof

Yeung v Potel & Anor [2014] EWCA Civ 481

A Court of Appeal case on the problems with the edges of demises and reserved rights of access, involving, in this case, a land grab above a ceiling and a demand to access the flat above.

Flats 3 and 4 were part of a 4 storey building. Flat 3 lay directly under flat 4. The Claimants/Respondents owned the lease of Flat 4 and the Defendant/Appellant Flat 3.

Problems arose when Dr Y, the Defendant/Appellant, started works in Flat 3.

In November 2008 the defendant commenced major building works in his flat. He did not give notice to the claimants of what

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Trespass and aggravation.

One of the oddest (and probably most expensive) trespass cases we have reported (see here for the first Court of Appeal report) has ended up back in the Court of Appeal yet again.

Eaton Mansions (Westminster) Ltd v Stinger Compania De Inversion S.A. [2013] EWCA Civ 1308

As a very brief recap, Eaton Mansions (EM) were the head leaseholder of a mansion block. Stinger (S) had the lease of a number of flats. Stinger had mounted huge air conditioning units on the roof without EM’s consent (and EM would have required the freeholder’s consent too – the Grosvenor Estate), and then refused the remove them. Stinger conducted the subsequent … Read the full post

Of Superglue and Residence

A prosecution under s.144 LASPO that came unstuck*

R v D Duputell 31 October 2013 Hove Trial Centre [Newspaper report]

This was the retrial of Mr Duputell after his earlier trial on charges of breach of s.144 LASPO together with two other co-defendants resulted in the cases against them being thrown out.

Mr D had been arrested in what I understand to be a former (empty) pub in Hove. The prosecution was brought on the basis of s.144, (1) of which provides:

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,
(b)the person knows or

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Haigh, Squatting is Now Illegal

The Evening Standard is reporting the sentencing of the first person under the new anti-squatting provisions in the LASPO Act.

Alex Haigh received 12 weeks in prison. Unfortunately Mr Haigh appeared to be unaware that squatting was now an offence and admitted to Police that he was a squatter.

I am not going to repeat the various comments we have made about this legislation and its implementation. The most recent post on the topic is here.

I am also not going to comment on the Standard article except to highlight this phrase from the article:

The law was brought in amid a squatting crisis in London as organised eastern

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The cost of criminalising trespass

The Government’s proposal to criminalise trespass to residential property, contained in LASPO at clause 136, is due to be considered at report stage in the House of Lords tomorrow (Tuesday 20 March). The Government’s estimate of additional costs arising from the proposal is £25 million over 5 years.

SQUASH have obtained a report on the likely costs of the proposal, highlighting the shortcomings of the MoJ’s costings. The research takes into account knock on costs to other Departments and to Local Authorities. It outlines a range of scenarios that may result from the criminalisation and estimates the likely costs at between £316 million and £790 million.

The Guardian has further Read the full post

Forward to the 18th Century!

Monstrous Craws at a new Coalition Feast
The Coalition’s proposed legislation this week has a marvellously retro feel to it. Sniff the air. Through the whiff of horse dung and open sewers, you can tell we are back in the days of Queen Anne and not solely because the lawfulness of the catholicity of a Monarch’s spouse was an issue deemed worth revisiting.

The Observer noted that a debate in the Lords on the Welfare Reform Bill gave rise to the prospect of the return of the window tax.  The glorious proposals to cut the benefits of under-occupiers, so that they have to find a less commodious garrett, gives rise to the question of what constitutes … Read the full post

Pass me down the wine

The number of letters published in The Guardian on the topic of the law on squatting has now reached two and can therefore be fairly described as an “exchange”.

We have already noted Mike Weatherley MP’s letter to The Guardian and I urge you all to read that post. It is a sensitive, sensible, passionate and highly informed piece of writing. What follows is almost certainly not. It should only be considered for a bit of weekend light relief, probably with a glass, or more, of wine to hand – it was certainly written that way.

With that caveat, our starting point has to be the letter published at … Read the full post