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Taxonomies of squatting : unlawful occupation in a new legal order.

Fox O’Mahony, L. and Cobb, N. A. (2008) 'Taxonomies of squatting : unlawful occupation in a new legal order.', Modern law review., 71 (6). pp. 878-911.


Legal responses to the activity of 'squatting' include criminal justice, civil actions, property law and housing policy. Some legal analyses of unauthorised occupation focus on the act of squatting, others on the squatter's claim to title through adverse possession. This paper explores recent developments in the law of adverse possession which have been shaped by particular discursive constructions of both squatters and dispossessed landowners. It develops a 'taxonomy of squatting' by mapping the positions adopted by the Law Commission, the legislature and various domestic and European courts, in respect of moral issues thrown up by the doctrine of adverse possession, including the distinction between good faith and bad faith squatting, the landowner's duty of stewardship, and the question of compensation. By unpacking the circumstances in which squatting occurs, the paper develops a series of matrices to classify legal responses to unlawful occupation and to facilitate a more systematic and coherent understanding of law's responses to squatting.

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Record Created:01 Sep 2008
Last Modified:18 Oct 2011 14:18

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