UK: Travellers, Trespassers And Troublemakers - Action For The Recovery Of Land (Universities)

Last Updated: 8 March 2006
Article by Paul Kent and Matthew Baker

Pinsent Masons' nationally recognised team of specialist property litigation lawyers has an outstanding reputation for protecting land against trespass and recovering possession of land from trespassers.

Our experience

One of the risks to which universities are exposed as landowners is that of trespass by unwelcome third parties. Continued occupation exposes landowners to further risks which may include loss of security, business interruption, damage to property, the cost of stolen electricity supplies and other services, loss of insurance cover and ultimately loss of ownership through adverse possession.

We regularly advise universities concerning the protection of land by injunction and the recovery of possession of land through "self-help" and court proceedings. Where there are grounds of particular urgency, on many occasions we have successfully recovered possession on the same day as receiving instructions.

Our contacts with the leading High Court Enforcement Officers and other specialist agents throughout England and Wales enable us to provide an unrivalled service which is fast, efficient and cost effective.

Our reputation

"An efficient fast and friendly team" Chambers - 2003 "When trespassers invaded our property a few days before Christmas we were concerned that they would remain on the land over the holiday period resulting in damage and expensive clean up costs.Within 24 hours Pinsent Masons had issued and served Court proceedings for us; within 48 hours they had an order for possession and within 72 hours the trespassers had been evicted by specialist enforcement officers. We were very pleased with Pinsent Masons' quick and effective response which meant that possession of the property was recovered before Christmas so that damage was kept to a minimum"
Deirdre Smith - Head of Legal Hanson PLC - 2006

What should I do if I have trespassers on my land?

If you are notified of your land being occupied by trespassers you should contact us straight away so that we can commence proceedings immediately and return possession of your land to you as soon as possible.

What information is required in order for the action to proceed without delay?

For the purposes of the action, we will require:-

  1. details of the circumstances in which the trespassers came to occupy your land without your consent (e.g. did the trespassers break in through a perimeter fence?);
  2. details of your ownership of the occupied land (this may include details of any leasehold interests along with the freehold title);
  3. photographs showing the trespassers on the land;
  4. if possible, a plan showing the precise location of the trespassers on your land and an indication as to the (approximate) number of caravans, vans or other associated vehicles which are occupying the premises; and
  5. details of any threat or actual damage to your land, or personal injury sustained.

Timeline for action

Below is a timeline illustrating how a typical possession action proceeds. At every stage, Pinsent Masons will consult with you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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