Analyses | Public administration and legal system | 2015-01-21 | HKEJ

Get squatters’ rights right, an uneasy move for Adverse Possession Reform

In Hong Kong, a title to land or property is based on possession. Squatters are legally entitled to make claims on land ownership if they have occupied it for more than 12 years, known as Adverse Possession. Last October, the Law Reform Commission proposed to amend the law on squatters’ rights. It is a controversial principle as adverse possession could deprive the owner of property, yet to avoid land becoming undeveloped is in the public interest. So is it unjust? Beyond this question, what intrigues more discussion of the reform is land registration system and land boundaries issues that policymakers are urged to make a move.