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"The main aims of the Land Registration Acts were to give certainty to title of land, facilitate conveyancing and to make the transfer of land more simple and economical" - To what extent do you think these aims have been achieved?

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Introduction

* "The main aims of the Land Registration Acts were to give certainty to title of land, facilitate conveyancing and to make the transfer of land more simple and economical". * To what extent do you think these aims have been achieved? A system of land registration has been in existence for well over one hundred years. The LRA1 1862 and the LTA2s 1875 and 1897 provided a system for voluntary registration of title. The LRA 1862 was found to be unworkable and thus replaced by the LTA 1875 and then 1897. The LTA 1897 made registration of title compulsory on dealings with land in the county of London, prior to this the number of titles registered was very small. However, it was not until 1st December 1990 that the compulsory areas were extended to the whole of England and Wales3. It is now estimated that over 80% of titles are now registered4. Currently the main statutory basis is the ill-drafted5 LRA 1925, as amended by numerous later pieces of property legislation6. Many consider the present legislation to be imperfect, worthy of note is the opinion of the Lord Chancellor's Department7. Many of the later enacted LRAs have been to rectify problems arising from the 1925 Act. In 1925 no less than six pieces of property legislation8 were enacted which resulted in a widespread legislative reform of English property law. Under the system of land registration there is no need to undertake extensive investigation of root of title, this is because all information is on the land certificate. A land certificate is issued when a land transaction is completed. It is important to remember that it is the register itself not the land certificate that is the document of title. Unlike the system of unregistered land title deeds need only be inspected once, by the Land Registrar, reducing repetition, time and cost. The dangers for prospective purchasers are reduced under the system of registered land as they can rely on register of title to land, as they know it has been recorded only after investigation by the Land Registrar. ...read more.

Middle

S.70(1)(g) allows the courts to protect holders of equitable interests who are in actual occupation of the land. This distorts the basic structure of the act and results in purchasers being bound by unregistered equitable interests46. Three requirements must be met in order to satisfy S.70(1)(g); * At the time of sale to the new owner or when the mortgage was granted (Abbey National Building Society v. Cann [1991]47) a proprietary right in the land must be proved, either legal or equitable, a mere personal right is not sufficient, National Provincial Bank v. Hastings Car Mart (1964)48. A person's right of equitable ownership existing behind a trust for sale is regarded as a right in land, William & Glyn's Bank v. Boland (1981)49. This section offers protection for the majority of proprietary rights, without requiring registration, this is, in my opinion, a flaw in the system, the opinion of Lord Oliver50 in Abbey National Building Society v. Cann [1991]51 is noteworthy. * The holder of the right must be in actual occupation of the land or in receipt of rents of profits. The case of Hodgson v. Marks (1971)52 established that 'actual occupation' is a matter of fact not a matter of law, and should be determined on the circumstances of each case, Chhokar v. Chokkar (1989)53. 'Occupation' is not established by preparatory steps towards permanent occupation, Lloyds Bank v. Rossett (1991)54. Normally the presence of a person will be apparent to a prospective purchaser, and this would normally lead to them making enquiries of adverse interests. It is when the presence of a person on a piece of land is undiscoverable that difficulties arise, the best case to illustrate this is the afore mentioned Chhokar v. Chokkar (1989)55, here the equitable owner was in hospital at the relevant time, and the legal owner had removed all evidence of her existence. A person's proprietary right is protected under S.70(1)(g) ...read more.

Conclusion

39 Celsteel v. Alton House Holdings (1985) WLR 204. 40 S.70(1)(a) Land Registration Act 1925; Easements and Profits a Prendre. 41 Land Registration Rule 258 provides that 'rights, privileges, and appurtenances' appertaining to registered land will be overriding interests within S.70 Land Registration Act 1925 if openly enjoyed over the land. 42 Thatcher v. Douglas (1995) 146 NLJ 282. 43 S.70(1)(k) Land Registrtion Act 1925; Leases granted for a term not exceeding twenty one years. 44 City Permanent Building Society v. Miller (1952) CH 840. 45 S.70(1)(g) Land registration Act 1925; "The rights of every person in actual occupation of the land or in receipt of the rents and profits thereof, save where enquiry is made of such person and the rights are not disclosed. 46 Page 83, Land Law, Louisa Lidbetter. 47 Abbey National v. Cann (1991) 1 AC 56. 48 National Provincial Bank v. Hastings Car Mart (1964) AC 1175. 49 William & Glyn's Bank v. Boland (1981) AC 487. 50 "...title to land should be governed by and ascertainable from the register alione". 51 Abbey National v. Cann (1991) 1 AC 56. 52 Hodgson v. Marks (1971) CH 892. 53 Chhokar v. Chhokar (1989) FLR 313. 54 Lloyds Bank v. Rossett (1991) 1 AC 107. 55 Chhokar v. Chhokar (1989) FLR 313. 56 Skipton Building Society v. Clayton (1993) 25 HLR 596. 57 City of London Building Society v. Flegg (1988) AC 54. 58 Page 83, Land Law, Louisa Lidbetter. 59 Peffer v. Rigg (1977) 1 WLR 285. 60 Lyus v. Prowsa Developments Ltd (1980) 1 WLR 1044. 61 Howell v. Montey (1991) TLR 17th March 1990. 62 "it should be made clear in the Act that the doctrine of notice shall not apply to dealings with registered land except in those cases where the act expressly provides to the contrary". 63 S.82 Land Registration Act 1925; Rectification of the register. 64 Norwich & Peterborough Building Society v. Steed (1992) 3 WLR 669. 65 Re Chowood's Registered Land (1933) CH 574. 66 Law Commission Report Number 158. 67 Re Chowood's Registered Land (1933) CH 574. ...read more.

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