The Prescription Act of 1832

Leasehold tenures were a further development, either for a periodic tenancy or confusion of freehold and leasehold concepts that constituted the fee-farm grants for the conversion of an original leasehold tenure into the ownership of land. This was facilitated through statutory provisions such as the Renewable Leasehold Conversion Act of 1849, whereby leases for life or leases automatically renewable forever were automatically converted into free farm grants.2 According to Section 74 of the Act, those cases where the power to convert pre 1849 leases had not yet been exercised, the statutory equivalent to the fee-farm grants was allowed on a similar basis, the word similar being used because the lessee does not obtain the grant itself but equivalent terms.3 However, this provision was revised in the Deasy’s Act of 1860 whereby the notion of tenure was abolished as well as the notion that the landlord should hold the right to a reversion in the land4, determining that the rights between the user/tenant of a property and the landlord were to be conditioned by a contract between the parties. This reverted the position of power to the Landlords, however, these powers have been changed and the balance altered in favor of the tenants in recent times through the development of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act of 1870 and the Land Law (Ireland) Act of 1881, which gave more rights, such as the right to be charged a fair rent, have fixity of tenure and make free sales of the tenure.5The development of the Prescription Act in 1832 was the result of the long-standing conflicts between the rights of the freehold title owners of the land as opposed to the rights of those who had possessed and made use of the land for a long time. The feudal system of land ownership had resulted in disputes arising out of ownership of public lands or lands which several people used and had been using for a long time. In a situation where absentee landlords did not maintain or supervise their lands for long periods and did not assert theirrights over the lands.