Adjudicator to HM Land Registry
This dispute concerned a claim by Quest for adverse possession of land adjoining the M20 in Kent. The Secretary of State had acquired the land in 1947 together with other land used to build the M20. The disputed land had only been used as a working site, and fences dividing it from Quests land had disappeared some years ago. In 2009 the Secretary of State sought to register his title, but discovered that Quest had been registered with possessor title in 1997, so applied to alter the register to be substituted as proprietor with absolute title. The limitation period against the Crown is 30 years, but there were issues as to whether the end date was 1997, when the possessory title was registered, 2002 when the LRA 2002 came into force, or 2009 the the application was made to alter the register. Regardless of those issues, the Adjudicator found that adverse possession was not shown on the facts for a sufficient period, there had been an acknowledgement of title, and the carrying out of further highway works was a resumption of possession.
Thomas Jefferies acted for the Secretary of State, who succeeded in the application