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Enforcing squatters' human rights

Does the new law on criminal trespass have the potential for contravening a squatter's human rights? Sandra Clarke and Mark Pawlowski report

17 May 2013

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012. Section 144 of the Act creates a new offence of squatting in residential buildings, which came into force on 1 September 2012. The offence is not retrospective and does not criminalise any squatting taking place before 1 September 2012. The effect, however, of section 144(7) is that later squatting is not prevented from being criminal as a result of having started before this date.

In an earlier article ('Moving in, moving out', Solicitors Journal, 12 March 2013), we discussed the question of whether the criminality of the trespass now precluded a claim to adverse possession. But can a squatter who is in mid-term of acquiring a...

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