Case Work: Pye (J.A.) Oxford Ltd v Graham [2002]

The leading case for adverse possession is Pye (J.A.) Oxford Ltd v Graham [2002] [1]. The Grahams had been using land belonging to Pye Ltd to graze their cattle for several years, when Pye Ltd decided to use the land, the Grahams refused to leave. Pye Ltd sued them in the High Court, lost, and appealed and won to the Court of Appeal.


The Grahams then appealed to the House of Lords and won the claim. The Grahams, who had used the land without paying rent for years, were now the legal owners of the land. Pye Ltd took its case to the European Court of Human Rights, where it was held that this was a breach of the company’s human rights. This, however, did not entitle Pye Ltd to regain ownership of the land, but to compensation from the UK government.


The UK government then appealed to the Grand Chamber, which reversed the previous decision. Pye Ltd was left with no land and no compensation. Another case concerning factual possession and intention to possess is Buckinghamshire County Council v Moran [1989] where it was established that by erecting fences and gates was adequate proof that Moran was taking care of the land in question.


Finally, there is the case Red House Farms (Thorndon) Ltd v Catchpole [1977] where the defendant was using land adjacent to his own to shoot wildfowl. Although the two plots were separated by a river, the defendant was the only one using the land, which was enough proof to constitute possession.


Key References

[1] Pye (J.A.) Oxford Ltd v Graham [2002]

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