The Emotional Paradoxes of Adverse Possession

Heather Conway, John Stannard

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Property lawyers are generally viewed as a serious lot, not prone to feverish bursts of excitement as we seek comfort and solace in established legal rules and precepts. In the same way, property law disputes tend to have a fairly low profile and fail to capture the public imagination in the same way as, for example, those involving criminal or human rights law. Such apparent indifference might seem a little strange, given the centrality of property in everyday human life and the significance which legal systems and individuals attach to property rights. However, there is one issue which always inflames passions amongst lawyers and non-lawyers alike: the acquisition of land through the doctrine of adverse possession, often described as ‘squatter’s rights’. No property-related topic is likely to light up a radio show phone-in switchboard quite like squatting
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2013


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