Republic of Ireland Law
Republic of Ireland Law Questions Answered by Experts
1. Dear Nigel, In order to make a claim for squatter's rights you need to have exclusive possession of the land for 12 years. This means that you have to fence off the land from all people, especially the true owner. It is not sufficient to maintain the grass or to merely cut the road side. The true owner can have stopped squatter's rights just by entering upon the land once since 1999. In one case it was sufficient for the true owner to simply look over the fence at cattle. Additionally, your aunt must have had the animus possidendi or intent to seize and possess the land against the true owner. This means that your aunt has to appear greedy and duplicitous because the moment she sold the land, she must have formed the intention to seize it back for nothing and done what she could to achieve that aim.
2. The other thing you need to realise is that courts will lean over backwards to defeat the claim of a squatter who sold the land to the true owner. Courts don't like the fact that someone profits by selling land and then seizes it back for nothing. So a court will contrive in whatever way it can to defeat the claim of a person who was previously paid for selling the land. This is just normal human relations in that a court will not aid someone who is perceived as being underhand. Accordingly, I would suggest your aunt has considerable challenges in convincing a court that she has a claim to squatter's rights. However, it is not impossible and it can be done.