Adverse possession: tenant estopped from denying an acknowledgement given in a compromise after the limitation period had ended

In Colchester BC v Smith ([1992] Ch. 421, CA (Eng)) T had been in possession of land belonging to the Council for a period exceeding twelve years. To avoid being the subject of proceedings that the Council intended to instigate, T entered into a lease of the land that acknowledged the Council’s title and that he had no claim to the land by virtue of adverse possession. He then sought to claim that he had defeated the Council’s title and that the acknowledgement was ineffective since it had been given after the limitation period had expired (section 29(7) of England’s Limitation Act 1980 provides that an acknowledgement at this stage is ineffective). T failed. He was estopped from denying the acknowledgement since it had been given as part of a genuine compromise agreement.

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