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Land Law

Land Law (2nd edn)

Ben McFarlane, Nicholas Hopkins, and Sarah Nield
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date: 18 July 2024

p. 11. What is Land Law?locked

p. 11. What is Land Law?locked

  • Ben McFarlane, Ben McFarlaneProfessor of English Law, University of Oxford
  • Nicholas HopkinsNicholas HopkinsLaw Commissioner for England and Wales and Professor of Law, University of Reading
  •  and Sarah NieldSarah NieldProfessor of Law, University of Southampton


This chapter introduces the reader to land law and explains why land law is studied at all. It also tackles three fundamental questions that are used to understand and structure the often complex rules encountered in land law: the content, acquisition, and defences questions. Three specific case law examples are discussed: National Provincial Bank v Ainsworth (1965), Williams & Glyn's Bank v Boland (1981), and City of London Building Society v Flegg (1988). Other topics covered in this chapter include: the importance of the statutory framework established by the Law of Property Act 1925 and the Land Registration Act 2002; the focus of land law on private rights to use land; the key distinction between personal rights and property rights; the importance of equitable rules and of statute in shaping land law; and the key role played by land registration in modern land law.

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