The initial problem arose because the strip of land which had previously been registered as part of 29 Milner Street for nearly a century was also added by the Registrar, in error, to the registered title for 31 Milner Street in 1986. When this mistake was spotted in 2012 the owner of Number 29, Mr Horace Parshall, attempted to have the mistake rectified, but the owner of Number 31, Ms Clara Hackney, objected that she had what is known as a possessory title to the disputed land by virtue of 12 years adverse possession of the land from July 1988. If that were upheld nothing could be done and Number 31 would keep the land.
However in the case, Parshall v Hackney, the judges decided that both parties had a valid registered title and therefore Number 31 never had adverse possession in the first place, and so couldn’t claim ownership on that basis. They further decided that mistakes in the registration of title do occur, and that the existing procedure for rectifying errors in land registration should be followed to enable Number 29 to get their land back.
The judges clearly found a way to enable Number 29 to get their strip of land back, even if to do so they had to come to what appeared to be a pretty strange decision.
If you have a potential boundary dispute, feel free to contact any member of our Property or Litigation team.