Trespass is the unlawful occupation of land by someone other
than the owner.
The most common example of trespassing is squatting. At present
trespassing is a civil wrong but in the future trespass law may
change to make it a criminal offence. There are many other examples
of trespassing such as dumping rubbish on another's land, remaining
in premises after the expiry of a lease, entering another's
airspace, and excavating below the surface by mining or
The facts giving rise to trespass claims may also give rise to a
boundary dispute and a claim for adverse possession.
In relation to trespass by squatting, although there is an
accelerated county court procedure for obtaining an order for
possession the procedure is often frustrated by the inability of
the county courts to deal with cases quickly enough. It is possible
to obtain an order much more quickly in the High Court but its
limited jurisdiction means that it is only possible to commence
proceedings in the High Court in exceptional circumstances. If
there is urgency it is worth considering whether such circumstances
Although the courts frown on self-help there are some
circumstances where it may be possible to take possession from
trespassers without a court order. However, they are unlikely to
exist if the property is residential.
We advise and represent both owners and occupiers on all aspects