Land Law: Definition of Land

  • Created by: humayra
  • Created on: 23-04-14 22:07
  • Land is not simply physical i.e. soil, grass + buildings but the RIGHTS people have in land. 
  • There are TWO distinct categories: 

1) Corperal hereditaments- the actual land such as a house which can be passed down by someone to their heirs e.g. buildings, property etc.

2) Incorperal hereditaments- a 'right'; not a visible/physical ownership of land. An 'intangible' right passed down by someone to their heirs, who will have a new 'right' to property. Ownership of a right of way over someone else's property

  • In corperal hereditaments, there are distinctions between FIXTURES and CHATTELS:

1) Rests on a factual basis

- although basic principles established, no. of cases have been decided on individual facts - so in one case a seat can be a fixture, whilst in another can be a chattel

  • Law of Property Act 1925 s.205(1)(ix) - Statutory definition of Land; includes the surface, buildings/parts of building, whatever is attached to the land and becomes part of the land

Land Law: Fixtures and Chattels

  • Important to distinguish between fixtures and chattels

1) Fixtures:- attached to the land; realty

2) Chattels:- personal items belonging to the owner; personalty

  • There are TWO tests for determining whether an object is a fixture or chattel:

1) 1st Test= DEGREE OF ANNEXATION; if object is annexed to the land, it is prima facie a FIXTURE


  • Holland v Hodgson (1872); spinning looms bolted to floor of factory were attached with bolts so therefore held to be fixtures
  • Hume v Brigham [1943]; Heavy free-standing printing presses stood on floor held to be chattels, not attached to the floor. 
  • Chelsea Yacht & Boat Co. v Pope [2000]; houseboat moored to the bank moving up and down a tide was considered to be a chattel


  • Test created by Blackburn J in Holland v Hodgson
  • considers TWO questions which must be asked:-

1) Was chattel affixed to land for better enjoyment of object as a chattel? (therefore more likely to be a chattel)


2) Was it affixed for a more convenient use of land? (therefore more likely to be a fixture)

  • Creates a paradox as the same object can be a fixture in one case, and a chattel in another.

For example; Leigh v Taylor [1902]- Held that tapestries nailed to a wall were NOT fixtures.


Re Whaley [1908]-


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