The area of law in question here is adverse possession of freehold land. Wylie defines adverse possession as “possession of land which is inconsistent with the title of the true owner. The law on adverse possession in Ireland, and indeed throughout much of the common law world, is extremely conscientious and ambiguous. Therefore, it is impossible to say with certainty how the courts will decide this issue. The major difficulty encountered in this area stems from the moral stance one takes with regard to the landowner versus adverse possessor argument, and in deciding the correct balance to be struck between competing interests.
The question that arises in the problem at hand is whether Nora adversely possessed 55 Fitzwilliam Square.
Buckley accurately and succinctly summarises the law of adverse possession as “one which traditionally carves wary walking for many practitioners; with apparently conflicting authorities not easily reconciled”. This statement becomes more apparent after analysing the case-law. The doctrine of adverse possession allows a trespasser to extinguish the rights of the true owner through the passage of time. S.12 of the Statute of Limitations Act 1957 states that an action to recover land which has been adversely dispossessed must be brought by the owner within the requisite limitation period. As outlined by s.24, if no action is taken within the limitation period the title of the true owner is extinguished. S. 13(2) sets the limitation period at 12 years and it begins to run where there has been a dispossession of the true owner of a discontinuance of possession by him and adverse possession by some other person has occurred.
There are certain circumstances however, which will stop the period of limitation running. Only two of these apply to the case at hand. The first is where the owner commences legal proceedings. For example, in Mount Carmel Investments v Thulow, it was held...