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Trespassers

This page deals with three points:
  • Orders against persons unknown.
  • Orders in respect of neighbouring land.
  • No power to suspend order for possession without consent of owner.

Order in respect of neighbouring land

Limit of possession orders - injunctions

Facts

Squatters had occupied certain areas of woodland belonging to the Secretary of State ("claimant"). There was a risk that squatters would also move onto other separate areas (which were miles away from the trespassed land), particularly if the squatters were moved on from their present encampment. The claimant obtained a possession order in relation to all the land, both that which was occupied and that which it was feared would become occupied. Was that possible?

Held

An order for possession of land not actually occupied by trespassers was too wide. The basis of a claim for possession was that the owner had been ousted and should ‘recover’ the land. An order could not be made where, although there was a risk of squatting, the owner was still in possession. There was nothing to recover. Lord Neuberger at para 64 and 65:
    "The notion that an order for possession may be sought by a claimant and made against defendants in respect of land which is wholly detached and separated, possibly by many miles, from that occupied by the defendants, accordingly seems to me to be difficult, indeed impossible, to justify. The defendants do not occupy or possess such land in any conceivable way, and the claimant enjoys uninterrupted possession of it. Equally, the defendants have not ejected the claimant from such land. For the same reasons, it does not make sense to talk about the claimant recovering possession of such land, or to order the defendant to deliver up possession of such land.

    This does not mean that, where trespassers are encamped in part of a wood, an order for possession cannot be made against them in respect of the whole of the wood (at least if there are no other occupants of the wood), just as much as an order for possession may extend to a whole house where the defendant is only trespassing in one room (at lea ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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