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The Principles of Land Law

The Principles of Land Law (1st edn)

Emma Lees
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date: 29 May 2024

p. 11. Introduction—Principles and Themes of Land Lawlocked

p. 11. Introduction—Principles and Themes of Land Lawlocked

  • Emma LeesEmma LeesLecturer in Environmental and Property Law, University of Cambridge


This introductory chapter provides an overview of the land law system. The operation of the land law rules can be split into three central questions: first, the content and nature of individual rights in land — both ownership-estates and interests in another's land; second, the method of creation and transfer of these individual rights; and third, the interaction between these rights and the rights of others. The law's answer to these questions is shaped by the social context within which the rules operate, and by the principles of land law. These principles are certainty; sensitivity to context; transactability; systemic and individual effects; and the importance of recognising social effects. The chapter then considers the logic of the land law system. Understanding this logic begins with understanding the terminology, and this terminology is nowhere more unhelpful but essential than in the distinction between legal and equitable rights, and in the concept of ownership.

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