What if squatters believe (mistakenly) that they are licensees?

Even a mistaken belief on a squatter’s part that he is the owner’s licensee and that that licence is the basis of possession negates an intention to possess.

In Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd v Walters ([2005] EWHC 669 (Ch)) D occupied land as licensee of M. M transferred title to C. This terminated the licence by operation of law. D knew of the transfer. D remained in occupation in the open and acknowledged belief that she occupied as C’s licensee. This belief negated the intention to possess. If asked why she was there D would have replied that she was there as C’s licensee.

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2 Responses to “What if squatters believe (mistakenly) that they are licensees?”

  1. Chu Wa Tim Says:

    It seems this case cannot be reconciled with Ho Hang-Wan where the fact that the licensee did not know of termination of license and therefore she must still have believed that she was a licensee does not negate intention?

    • Michael Lower Says:

      Although they may seem contradictory it may not be so. An initial belief that one is a licensee can change and this could be evidenced, for example, by spending money on the land.

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