Acted for Transport for London who successfully resisted a claim by two scrap dealers that they had established title to 10 arches under the A13 Canning Town flyover by adverse possession since 1985. The arches were owned first by the GLC, then the Highways Agency, an agency of the Crown, and finally TfL. One of the issues was what limitation period applies to successors in title to the Crown. A successor has the benefit of the Crown’s extended 30 year limitation period if the cause of action “first accrued to the Crown”.
The judge did not accept the evidence of the Claimants, following Thomas Jefferies‘ cross examination. Furthermore, the Judge accepted his submission that “first” meant “previously”, so that it did not matter whether the cause of action accrued during or before the ownership by the Crown.