Adverse possession

Property disputes

Adverse possession disputes

Adverse possession, also known more colloquially as ‘squatters rights’, allows an individual who has occupied land in Queensland for more than 12 years to legally acquire the property. They will receive the property’s title without having paid the registered owner any money for it. 

Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers is a dedicated litigation firm. Our litigation lawyers can assist you if you find yourself having an adverse possession dispute. 

Contact us today for confidential initial consultation to discuss your matter. 

Legal details

Adverse possession requirements

There are several elements to adverse possession that a claimant must demonstrate which are:

The legal owner must have a cause of action for trespass. The occupier must act as though they already own the property and use the land.

Possession must represent continuous uninterrupted occupation and use of the land. Occasional activity interspersed by periods of inactivity would cause the claim to fail

Possession must be adverse to the interests of the legal owner and without permission of the legal owner.

The claimant must possess the land to the exclusion of the legal owner and not share possession with the legal owner.

The use the land must be in a manner so as to place the legal owner on notice that a trespasser is in possession.

An individual must be in possession of the land for 12 years in Queensland.

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Why choose Gibbs Wright

There are hundreds of law firms in Queensland, but only a handful of them focus solely on litigation, and fewer still have the necessary skill and understanding to deliver commercially viable results for your matter.

At Gibbs Wright, we exclusively practice in litigation and dispute resolution, and as a client of ours, we want you to feel confident that you will receive unparalleled service and dedication for your dispute.

Our firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants across Queensland, in a wide range of litigation and dispute matters, and no case is too small, too large or too complex for our lawyers to take up the fight.

Whether you are an individual or one of Australia’s largest companies, your case deserves the same level of attention and dedication – and that is what we strive to provide to each and every client.

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Legal viability

Does adverse possession actually get claimed?

Very rarely. The factual circumstances surrounding adverse possessions, particularly the lengthy possession required without the consent of the registered owner, makes claims very few and far between. This is especially the case as technology has modernised searches, property ownership and the administration of estates.

However, two individuals in the case of Lees v Valuer-General, Department of Natural Resources and Mines [2013] QCAT 442 successfully claimed adverse possession for two properties on Moreton Island. They had occupied the properties since the 1970s. The registered owners of the properties had died in the 1800s and did not have any record of their estate being administered.


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Yusuf Furgan
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Yusuf combines his formidable legal research and problem-solving skills together to resolve employment and commercial disputes.

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Special counsel

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