Time to review land registration?

Time to review land registration?


Brie Stevens-Hoare QC of Hardwicke considers the Law Commission's proposals for avenues of reform.

The Law Commission has outlined its twelfth programme of law reform, (LNB News 23/07/2014 133). The programme follows extensive public consultation throughout England and Wales and involves nine new projects covering a range of areas including land registration.

What will be the key focus of the review of land registration?

This project aims to review the effectiveness and practical implications of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002). Now is the right time for that review. For the most part, the changes made by LRA 2002 have been in operation for nearly 11 years. The last of the transitional accommodations ceased to operate last year. So LRA 2002 is fully operative and for the most part we have experienced its practical effects for over a decade. In essence LRA 2002 increased the degree to which the registered title provides a state guaranteed definition of the interests in land.

The primary focus of the review will be on the rectification and alteration provisions in LRA 2002, Sch 4. These provisions and their implications for third party interests and innocent purchasers have been the focus of significant debate and much litigation. Unsurprisingly, the operation of the indemnity provisions will also be reviewed. Inevitably, with the extensions of the state guarantee as to title underlying LRA 2002, the risk of calls on that guarantee and the consequential liability of the state to those relying on the register has increased.

What are the key problems relating to LRA 2002?

The key problems in this area are those identified by the Law Commission for consideration, namely:

  • rectification and alteration of the register
  • the operation of the indemnity provisions
  • protecting

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