Registration of Title Part 1

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The importance of registration

£1 million of property registrations every minute. Land Registry 2015 registered 24 millionth title.

Certainty- LRA 2002 'is a work of clarity and principle'. 1) framework/ overall rationale 2) based on idea of a register 3) priorities. 

1) framework- 2 estates capable of existing at law: freehold/fee simple absolute in possession and leasehold/term of years absolute LPA 1925 s1(1). 

'The linchpin of title registration is the idea that the most significant form of 'estate' in any geographically defined parcel of land may, and often must be recorded as an individual registered title in the land register under a uniquely assigned title number- a process sometimes known as 'independent' or 'substantive' registration.' Gray and Gray, Elements of Land Law. 

LPA 1925 s52(1)- all conveyances must be made by deed.

Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 s1(2)- formality requirements for a deed. 

Unregistered conveyancing: purchaser must seek out/vendor must prove good root of title. Each successive purchaser has to judge quality of relevant title. Repetitive, protracted, costly. 

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The importance of registration

Williams and Glyns Bank v Boland 1981- the 'wearisome and intricate task of examining title.'

Proving 'good root of title'- LPA 1969 s23: length of chain now 15 years. 

The advantages in registration- definitive ascertainment of estate ownership. 'The changing nature of modern title marks the transition from a world in which title to an estate in land originates in physical possession towards a rather different world in which the constitutive source of title is an administrative act of registration.' Gray and Gray Elements 

Title by registration- 'the register should be a complete set and accurate reflection of the state of title of the land at any given time, so that it is possible to investigate title to land online, with the absolute minimum of additional enquiries and inspections.' 

The transition to registered title/ introduction of a registration system- Land Registry Act 1862 'to facilitate the proof of title.' 

The 1925 legislation- City of London Building Society v Flegg 1988- 'the 1925 act was introduced as part and parcel of the overall property legislation enacted in that year and it introduced for the first time... a power in central government to designate areas in which...

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The importance of registration

registered conveyancing would be compulsary.' 

Land Charges Act 1925: only applies to unregistered land. Registration of Title Order 1989 (1st of December 1990). Triggers for land registration expanded in 1997. Land Registration Act 2002 s4 (current triggers for first registration.) 

Midland Bank Trust v Green 1981- 'My Lords, I do not think it is safe to see the answer to this question by means of a general assertion that the property legislation of 1925 was not intended to alter the law, or not intended to alter it in a particular field, such as that relating to purchasers of the legal estate. All the Acts of 1925 and their precusors, were drafted with the utmost care, and their wording, certainly where this is apparently clear, has to accorded firm respect.' 

Registration has transformed the law. 

Three key principles of registered land- 1) the mirror principle 2) the curtain principle 3) the insurance principle. 

1) the mirror principle- 'the register should reflect the totality of the rights and interests concerning a title of registered land.' 

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The importance of registration

The mirror principle means that you should be able to see everything about the land from the register. There are some rights which bind without being on the register so this principle doesnt operate fully in the UK. This is so potential buyers can view the full range of rights and burden over the land. 

'Unregistered interests which override' (overriding interests) - Sch 1 and 3 LRA 2002. These are rights which bind without being on a register. Informal trusts/purchase price or intention for part ownership. May not know so cant register. LRA 2002 aims to ensure that those rights that are not registrable under the act are capable of discovery by a normal inspection of the land. This is why we dont have a perfect mirror principle.

2) the curtain principle- some equitable interests in land should be hidden behind the 'curtain' (of a trust). Purchaser doesnt need to worry due to overreaching. Overreaching S2 and S27 LPA 1925. This is implementation of the curtain principle. Purchaser of a house pays money to 2 or more trustees= reaches over the equitable interest in trust. You take the property free of the equitable interests. Equitable interests transferred from land to money paid. 

3) the insurance principle- if registered the state maintains and guarantees the accuracy of the registered title. Conclusive in nature, meant to be definitive record of ownership. 

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The importance of registration

If theres a mistake you can claim compensation for losses by the state. 

The register itself: registered estates, registered charges, registrable interests (minor interests/protectable registrable interests, unregistrable minor interests), overriding interests (binding on land without being on register.) Mortgage can only be under a registered charge against relevant charge to be legal. 

Orgainsed schema of register- 

1) registered charge (non substantively registrable) 

2) registered title/estate (substantively registrable) (focal point for protection of other interests)

3) registered 'minor' interest (those that can be protected.) 

-Overriding interests not entered on registered title. 

Aim of LRA as many rights as possible to be put on register. 

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Registrable estates

LRA 2002 S3- category extended to 5 estates.

  • Freeholds
  • leases with more than 7 years unexpired
  • leases for discontinuous periods
  • leases taking effect in possession more than 3 months from date of grant
  • rent charges, franchises and profits a prendre in gross. 

Compulsory first registration (LRA 2002 s4)- First registration triggers-

  • conveyance or transfer of freehold estate
  • grant of lease of more than 7 years
  • transfer of lease with more than 7 years to run
  • grant of a lease taking effect in possession more than three months from the date of grant
  • creation of protected first legal mortgage.

Once registered theyre in the registration system forever. LRA 2002 s27: registrable dispositions.

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Format of register

The property register- describes the land, type of title held and benefits the estate has.

The proprietorship register- name of the proprietor and their address. Any rights that affect the dispostion of land. 

Charges register- all third party rights that detracted from registered properties full use and enjoyment of the land. Mortgagee bank will be named. 

Registrable disposition LRA 2002 s27- where land is already registered, those dispostions must be registered to operate at law. S27(1). Operate in equity until registered. 

Registrable dispositions of registered estate- LRA 2002 s27(2)-

  • Transfer of registered estate
  • Grant of a new lease of more than 7 years
  • Grant of a lease taking effect in possession more than 3 months from date of the grant
  • Grant of a legal charge (mortgage)
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Overriding interests and e-conveyancing

Overriding interests- rights that bind land and effects transferees without being on register. 

Unregistered interests which override first registration- Schedule 1 LRA 2002

Unregistered interests which override registered dispositions- Schedule 3 LRA 2002 (more important as most are registered).

E- Conveyancing- holding and transfer of estates in land electronically. Selling done with deed, submits to Land Registry. LRA 2002 designed to help this. Process of conveying land would become inseparable from registration of register. This is what they wanted but it didnt happen. 

E-conveyancing project timeline- 2011- Land registry- 'until the return of a healthier financial climate and more active property and mortgage market' enconveyancing is on hold for the immediate future. 

2014- Law Commission will reconsider 'the legal framework for electronic conveyancing. Considering how technology might be harnessed to reduce the time and resources required to process applications while maintaining the reliability of the register and public confidence in it.' (Mirror and insurance principle) 

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E Conveyancing

2015- Veyo- Law Society and Mastek joint venture. System of e delivery and e collection of documents. Transfer deeds and mortage deeds will still have to be physically signed. 

E- conveyancing provisions: LRA 2002 s91-93. (Hasnt come into action.)

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