In the November issue we looked at the doctrine of "boundary by agreement," sometimes referred to as the doctrine of "agreed boundaries" or the doctrine of "practical location." This time we will consider a closely related doctrine, the doctrine of "boundary by acquiescence," and discuss the implications that these doctrines have on practicing boundary surveyors.
One of the best explanations of the doctrine of boundary by acquiescence is in the Arkansas case cited in the last article, Lammey v. Eckel: "By contrast, a boundary by acquiescence arises not by a parol agreement but from the actions of the parties. It is more in the nature of an implied agreement presumed to exist by the long acquiescence of adjoining landowners who apparently consent to a dividing line between their properties. The concept is based upon the landowners' tacit acceptance of a fence line or other monument as the visible evidence of their dividing line. The acquiescence need not occur over a specific length of time, although it must be for "˜many years' or a "˜long period of time.' [The] acquiescence must exist for a period of seven years [but] most boundary by acquiescence cases involve time periods of at least twenty years."1 In other words, the basic difference between boundary by agreement and boundary by acquiescence is that it is not necessary for the parties to agree to a line as their common boundary (either verbally or by formal agreement); their acquiescence to a well-defined boundary constitutes the agreed boundary. Their actions, in essence, speak louder than words. This is a boundary line that will trump a senior deed or the written intentions of the parties as found in a deed of conveyance.