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Land Law in the United Kingdom - Law Essay Example

7 pages
1710 words
Boston College
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The land is an essential part of the English property law, which places it under the category of Real property as opposed to personal property which encompasses leases and all other types of property such stocks, shares, money, things, and IP. Due to its long history, the land is the most critical part of this law and entails the surface and goes beyond the items attached to the surface.

An act of parliament of the United Kingdom revoked all laws regulating the land registration and put in place the land Registration Act 2002 supported by the Land Regulation Rules; the law defines the practice of HM Land Registry. The HM Land Registry report, Land Registration for the Twenty-first century (2001) formed the backbone of the mandate for this legislation. It was meant to improve and simplify land registration and increase the precision of the system in identifying title to land and paint entirely the rights and subsidiary interests annexed to it with regards to the landholder. Furthermore, the law was to ease the establishment of e-conveyancing.

Voluntary land registration in the United Kingdom dynamically rose as the system also had an impact on the protection of third party rights. Transfer of freehold estate, legal leas that span more than seven years, and mortgage are some of the events that necessitate land registration as stipulated in Section 4 of the act. The main aim of the Act was to change the system of land ownership so that the title is obtained through registration as opposed to the previous system where the title was registered. The Act focuses on the registration as the proof of title to an estate and therefore creates an order for landholding. This article seeks to analyse this schemes efficiency in finding a comprehensive and accurate reflection of the title to registered land with minimum additional inquiries and inspections.

The Act has satisfied its objectives, but the first registrar that the Act sought to realize may not be fully achieved as it retained overriding interests that is a great threat to the expected order. The pivotal role of the LRA was the establishment of a new land register which was to revolutionize land ownership. The Act makes it easy to establish the ownership of a given estate. Additionally, the land Act enables landowners to know the reach of their plot and their legal positions and the position of their constitutional rights on land as personal property. They also need to know the legal procedure for transferring the land. Registration of land made legal title to pieces of land, therefore, changing the focus of the system. Conveyancing makes the land register to be in electronic form rather than being paper-based. This alongside other electronic-based systems comes with their challenges and strengths.

The aspiration of most citizens is electronic conveyancing to be adopted as the main the only method of land registry. This system makes it easy to transfer land rights without any difficulties or cumbersome procedures. The system precise and accurate when determining the owner of a given estate at a particular time. Nearly all sections of the Act discuss general e conveyancing before the legislation of the act, the Land Registry was contemplating a legal procedure that would manage land documentation system.

Land Leases of over 21 years are mandatory to be recorded by the law of property in the United Kingdom. LRA has necessitated registration of nearly all leases by reducing this time to seven years. This implies that more commercial leases are to be accounted for with ease. Furthermore, some rentals that span even less than seven years have to be registered. A landowner must register reversionary leases and discontinuous leases regardless of the time it is to take according to the act. Additionally, the rights that a tenant and landlord have in a lease are also recorded in the registration of the lease.

The land register was previously open to the public but the public did not easily access copies of leases and mortgages alongside some other documents. The LRA aims at making these records available. It has implemented some of the policies to make the documents are available. When landowners and lenders want to do an audit, the documents are available at the registry. A tenants solicitor during a lease can easily access the copies of leases that adjoining tenants to understand the dealings of the landlord concerned.

However, one can hide sensitive information from public view but through a legal application that is examined and the privacy put into consideration. Naturally, lenders would not want sensitive information on lending facilities to be accessible in public. The exempt information document (EID) is concerned with such cases, and the LRA designates it. The EID application is tedious because the registry must access the information and establish that it is indeed sensitive and may not be a hindrance to transparency in the future leasing dealings of a given landowner. The EID also caters to the tenant's welfare, and they may make their application when the need arises. The LRA has put the entire leasing process under scrutiny for the greater good and order of the land ownership system.

Easements either through an express grant or a reservation are elements to be included in the land ownership registry. An easement is a right over an estate that is a benefit of another different estate. Originally, most easements were overriding interests in registered land. The LRA necessitates legalization of an easement only once the burden attached to it has been protected by notice. The notice is over the servient title which must be a registered estate. In the case where the land for the easement is the benefit is not registered, the easement is shown that the legal procedure is finished once the servient is first registered. In this case, the landowner must check if the easement has been recorded accurately under the correct estate. In this case, both the dominant and servient land is concerned.

According to the Land Registration Act 1925 (1925 Act), interests that have no protection on the land register but concern a person with interest in a registered estate is termed as overriding interest. The Land Registration Act 2002 sought to lower overriding interests and to note the overriding interests. The primary aim of this procedure was to reduce the chances of creating another overriding interest. According to the Land Registration Act 2002 (2002 Act), persons applying for the overriding interests registration have to reveal other overriding interests that they know as a prerequisite to be registered. From the preceding, the Land Registration Act 2002 has made it mandatory that overriding must be put into the account. It also removes chances of creation of new overriding interests as evidenced in the preventive measures put in place. Landlords who receive rents and profits under a lease are not entitled to any overriding interest status.

Land and charge certificates are obsolete according to the LRA. The act underlines an applicant for land registration is issued with title information document (TID) which is a mere indication that the registrar is through with the registration of the given estate. Although the TID has an official copy of the register, the register is the sole reference for any land title reflection. The registry does no return any land certificates which are submitted for land registration. This implies that chances of any disputes on a given piece of land would not occur as the new electronic system gives no room for cases of different land certificates for the same parcel of land. It is worth noting that cases of individuals both with land certificates or even title deeds for the same piece of land has been eliminated.

According to the Land Registration Act 2002 (2002 Act), a boundary of an estate in the register is a general boundary unless it is stated otherwise. These exceptions are stated clearly by the same Act. A general boundary is not necessarily the exact boundary line. It is clear that while the Act seeks to give a detail and accurate administration of the title to registered land, the boundaries is one of the key issues not expressed in the Act. The most crucial element of an estate is the boundary. It is what shows why this parcel belongs to person X and the other belongs to person Y; it is the limit of coverage distinction. This is one of the most considerable shortcomings of the Act which should have been a major point of concern. The Act also still gives room for overriding interests which is a key hindrance for an orderly land ownership system.

The LRA 2002 has improved rights of possession but has constricted the rights of adverse possession. This has made it easy to analyse the title of a piece of land. The procedure for registration has been made elaborate for efficiency and ease of reference. This online system also makes it easy to work together with other electronic commerce systems.

In conclusion, the e-conveyancing method put in place by the Land Registration Act 2002 (2002 Act) has greatly impacted the land registry of the United Kingdom. The regulations of the laws with regards to easements, registration procedures, overriding interests and other elements of the land laws have significantly promoted the efficiency of the land registry. It has made tremendous steps towards the attainment of land ownership order and simplifying the transfer of benefits.

The key goal of the scheme is to facilitate the establishment of a comprehensive and accurate administration of land titles through registration. Consequently, investigations of titles can be done online without cumbersome inquiries and inspections. This is that is the primary objective of the system. However, the order has a few shortcomings with the most prominent one being the generality of the boundaries. This calls for further scrutiny of the law and the conveyancing system for audit and adequate procedures to correct the defects.



Home, R. Land ownership in the United Kingdom: Trends, preferences and future challenges. Land Use Policy, 26, S103-S108. (2009)

Gray, Kevin and Gray, Susan Francis, Elements of Land Law, 4th edn. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)

McKenzie, Judith-Anne and Phillips, Mary, Textbook on Land Law, 10th edn. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Thompson, Mark P, Modern Land Law, 2nd edn. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)


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