Property Law uk

Maintained by Gary Webber

Human rights

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided (by 10-7) that the English law of adverse possession (as it relates to claims under the law prior to the Land Registration Act 2002) is not incompatible with the Convention. Pye, which lost land under that law, was not therefore entitled to damages from the UK government. This page discusses the case and its subsequent applicability in the UK.

Pye v UK

European Court Grand Chamber decision

J.A. Pye (Oxford) Ltd v The United Kingdom
(Application no. 44302/02)
30 August 2007

(To find the case go to the ECHR case law search page and type in the word "Pye").

Brief history

This case arises out of the HL decision in J A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v Graham [2002] UKHL. A fuller explanation of the case can be found on the site here. However, very briefly the facts were as follows: Pye is a company that owned some (registered) land adjacent to a farm, owned by Mr Graham. The land had development potential but because there was no immediate intention to carry out any development Pye allowed Graham, under a licence, to use the land for grazing. When the licence came to an end Mr Graham remained in occupation, fully farming the land. He continued to farm the land for more than 12 years. The HL held that as Graham had factually possessed the land and had intended to possess the land he had acquired beneficial ownership of it by adverse possession and was entitled to be registered as the owner (under the Limitation Act 1980 and s75 of the Land Registration Act 1925).

Pye therefore made an application to the ECHR for damages against the UK government arguing that it had lost its property as a consequence of a law that was inconsistent with Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Convention. In November 2005 a chamber of the court consisting of seven judges held by 4-3 in favour of Pye.

The Government then asked for the matter to be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court (consisting of seventeen judges). It is this Grand Chamber that has now found in favour of the Government. The property which is perhaps worth in the r ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

Existing members, to login click => here