(CMR) The Law Reform Commission is inviting stakeholders and members of the general public to comment on the issues identified in the Discussion Paper titled “Adverse Possession” and, in particular, to submit their views on the recommendations presented for discussion.
The Discussion Paper aims to determine whether the doctrine of adverse possession should be abolished in the Cayman Islands or retained in a modified form. Adverse possession is the process by which a person can obtain title to land belonging to someone else by continuously occupying the land in a way that is inconsistent with the rights of the owner.
The Discussion Paper outlines the history and existing law of adverse possession, assesses the justifications for the doctrine, and examines the law and recent reforms in other common law jurisdictions. The Discussion Paper proposes two options for reform in the Cayman Islands – abolishing adverse possession entirely or amending the law to restrict the circumstances in which title to registered land can be acquired by adverse possession.
According to the Discussion Paper, The doctrine of adverse possession is incorporated into the statute law of the Cayman Islands by way of three Acts:
(a) the Limitation Act (1996 Revision) provides the basis for limiting a landowner’s right to recover land after specified periods of time;
(b) the Registered Land Act (2018 Revision) confirms the application of the doctrine of adverse possession to registered land, and prescribes the procedure for acquiring title to registered land on this basis; and
(c) the Land Adjudication Act (1997 Revision) prescribes the procedure for acquiring title to unregistered land by possession.
The Limitation Act (1996 Revision) provides that a person cannot bring an action to recover land after the expiry of 12 years from the date on which the right of action accrued. The person’s right of action to recover land accrues on the date they are dispossessed of the land or discontinue possession (section 20(1)) or the date another person takes adverse possession of the land (section 20(9). In the case of Crown land, the limitation period is 30 years rather than 12 years.
The Discussion Paper may be viewed on the following websites: www.gov.ky/lrc or www.gov.ky or a copy may be collected from the Offices of the Law Reform Commission.
Submissions should be forwarded no later than 27th October 2023 to the Director of the Law Reform Commission in one of the following ways –
(a) by email to [email protected];
(b) by hand delivery to the Law Reform Commission, Portfolio of Legal Affairs, 4th Floor, Government Administration Building, 133 Elgin Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman; or
(c) by post to the Law Reform Commission, P.O. Box 136, Grand Cayman KY1-9000.