CPD Points

eCPD - Webinar: Adverse Possession

Date & Time

Wednesday, 24 May 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm AEST

This is a recording of a live webinar held on 24 November 2021

Our speaker was Tony Proust, Meritorious Surveyor and Planner.

Is Adverse Possession fair and reasonable? Or is it just a form of legal fraud?
Are they just different sides of the same coin? What might Surveyors do to protect themselves and their clients from identity theft and e fraud?

For years Tony has been interested in the notion that one can obtain land simply by occupying it – and why this is not considered theft or fraud.

The principle of Adverse Possession applies in all states of Australia but not, generally, in the ACT or the NT. Land fraud knows no boundaries and can occur anywhere at any time. Surveyors may have a critical role in identifying cases of adverse possession and survey evidence may be critical to any claim for adverse possession.

Consider this scenario:

The fence at the  back corner of a rectangular house lot was truncated 3m x 3m many years ago to allow access to a carport in an adjoining lot. After many years the new owner of the subject land wants to replace the fence and seeks advice from a surveyor. The new owner says that while the original truncated fence was designed to provide access to the adjoining land the corner cut-off has not been used for access for years and now she wants to build the new fence on the original, correct, boundary.

How might the surveyor advise the client?

In 2019 and 2020 there were a number of unusual and fascinating court cases in Sydney and elsewhere which highlighted and shone light on, this sometimes controversial, but essential component of our system of property law.

Tony described the principle of Adverse Possession and some classic historic scenarios, including an early case in Victoria, then examine some recent court cases in NSW and Western Australia, in particular, with references to the situation in SA and Qld. He compared and contrasted these with two land fraud cases in Sydney in 1999 and Canberra in 2016.

Finally he discussed the growing issue of identity theft, which can be critical in cases of land fraud, and how this might impact on the land development industry and make some recommendations on what surveyors might do to protect themselves and their clients from ‘e fraud’ and identity theft.


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  • SSSI: 1 CPD point
  • BOSSI: 1 CAD point (SSSINSW2006) for those who watch live OR those who watch the recording and achieve an 80% passmark on a questionnaire.  0.5 Cadastral point for those who watch the recording only.

Note, only the individual registered for the event is entitled to receive the associated CPD point/s.


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