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 otherwise.
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 exist.
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 of trespass.