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Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

3. Buying a house  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter discusses the acquisition of a fee simple estate in land. It first describes the two freehold properties that are currently for sale in Trant Way, Mousehole, Stilton, and their prospective buyers, Barbara Bell (buying ‘unregistered land’), and Mr and Mrs Armstrong (buying ‘registered land’). It explains the two systems of title (registered and registered) that currently exist in English law and provides an outline of the conveyancing proces.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

3. Registered and Unregistered Land  

This chapter discusses one of the most important components of the land law system: the registration of title to land. This is the system whereby rights in land are recorded on a publically available register. The chapter first examines some of the history of English land law in the 20th and 21st centuries, considering the 1925 reforms and the Land Registration Act 2002. It also describes what the land register is, and how it fits into the system of rights in land. Land registration essentially contains three guiding rules. Certain rights must be registered to be created. Once registered, the effect of such rights is determined by their registered status. The relationship between the right-holder and third parties who later acquire rights in, or transact in relation to, the relevant land is, again, determined by registration. The register therefore has three functions: it controls creation of rights, the effects of such rights, and the interaction between rights. In this sense, registration fundamentally determines how land law works. The chapter then looks at the principles of conveyancing in unregistered land.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

5. Unregistered land  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter explains the process of buying unregistered land, focusing on the example of Barbara Bell who was introduced in Chapter 3 as a buyer of an unregistered freehold estate, 2 Trant Way. It explains how a buyer of unregistered land ‘deduces title’ (confirming that the seller of a freehold estate is indeed its owner) and checks for burdens affecting the land, including a discussion of burdens that must be registered on the separate ‘land charges register’ to bind a buyer of unregistered land. Finally, it considers the requirements for completing a purchase of unregistered land, including the requirement to apply for first registration of that land.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

5. Land Registration  

This chapter explores how the English land law land registration system works in practice. The land registration system achieves three goals. The first is as a method of controlling the way in which rights are created. The second is in terms of managing the effect of such rights, once they have been created. The third is as a means to regulate the interactions between different proprietary rights which exist in relation to the same piece of land. The chapter considers the first two functions: mode of rights creation and effect of rights creation. It then looks at what happens when these functions go wrong within the system — how do the principles of registered land interact with the inevitable reality of both human error and human creativity? In answering this issue, the chapter considers how the register is rectified and altered. Finally, it examines potential reforms, including those proposed by the Law Commission, and the possibility of the advent of e-conveyancing. The Law Commission has now begun the process of bringing about reform of the Land Registration Act 2002 to allow for the smoother operation of the registration system in cases of error.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

1. Estates in land  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter introduces Trant Way, a road in the fictitious town of Mousehole in the county of Stilton, which will be used throughout the book to illustrate the application of land law rules in practical situations. It also describes one of the houses along the road, Trant House, which in the story presented here has just been put up for sale by its owner, Vernon. It follows a prospective purchaser who is viewing Trant House to explain what is meant by ‘owning land’. The discussion cover topics such as tenure, estates in land, and the 1925 reforms of land law.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

15. Settled Land Act settlements  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter briefly discusses the Settled Land Act (SLA) settlement created before 1 January 1997, the other form of trust which still exists in relation to land. It addresses the following three questions: who holds the legal estate in settled land? Are there trustees? What sort of property may be subject to a SLA settlement?

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

21. Special rights in relation to the family home  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter brings together some matters about the family home, and provides additional information about certain statutory rights which members of a family may have in respect of their homes, contrasting the rights of married couples and civil partners with the more limited rights of cohabitants. In conclusion, the chapter outlines past proposals for reform of the law relating to cohabitants’ rights in the family home. It illustrates the issues considered by reference to 11 Trant Way (occupied by Mr and Mrs Mould), 12 Trant Way (occupied by Mildred Mumps and Henry Newton) and 2 Trant Way (occupied by Barbara Bell and her father, Bob).

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

23. Priorities in relation to mortgages and charges  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter explains the rules relating to priorities between successive mortgages and charges and between mortgages and charges and other estates and interests in land. It covers the priorities of mortgages of an equitable interest; the priorities of mortgages of a legal estate; the priorities of three or more mortgages; mortgagee’s right to tack further advances; and interests prior to the mortgage.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

1. Introduction—Principles and Themes of Land Law  

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.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

2. Interests in land  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter explains how one person may have rights over land owned by another. It identifies the people who may have rights over Trant House—rights that could be enforced not only against Vernon, the fee simple owner, but also against anyone who acquires the property from him. It covers the distinction between legal and equitable interests in land; examples of legal interests; examples of equitable interests, including trusts; modern approaches to protecting interests in land; the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘personal’ property and different types of ‘personal property’; and briefly touches on human rights.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

18. Torts  

This chapter discusses two torts relevant to the operation of rights in land: trespass and nuisance. Trespass to land is the unlawful interference with or incursion on another's possession of land. It is not a tort which protects ownership; its operation is relative. Thus, a trespasser can themselves sue a subsequent trespasser on the basis of this tort, if the first trespasser has gone into possession of the land. Trespass in this sense is a tort against possession of land. Unlike trespass, however, the law relating to nuisance is complex and even incoherent. In its absolute basic terms, nuisance is the tort of interference with another's reasonable use or enjoyment of their land, usually as a result of an unreasonable use of neighbouring land. The chapter then assesses the relationship between these torts and rights in land. It also explores the remedies which are available in response to such tortious actions.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

4. Formalities and the Creation of Rights in Land  

This chapter examines the formality rules in relation to transactions involving land, which are essential to the operation of the land law system in practice. Formality rules play an important role in protecting vulnerable individuals; in ensuring caution; and in preserving the essence of an agreement should any future disputes arise. The chapter then details the formalities required to create an enforceable contract in land; a deed; and a valid disposition of an equitable interest. It also explains that there are different formality rules relating to a declaration of trust and to the transfer of interests arising under a trust. A failure to use these formalities does not give rise to homogenous consequences. Rather, for each of these categories, there are subtly different effects arising from a failure to take all the formal steps required.

Book

Cover The Principles of Land Law
The Principles of Land Law provides a framework through which readers can gain a sophisticated understanding of the modern land law system. Firstly, the text explains the key learning objectives. Principles are summarised to conclude each chapter with a comprehensive overview of the topic at hand. Key cases are explained while examples illustrate problems and possible solutions. The aim is to ensure that readers understand how to apply the core principles to land law scenarios accurately, while also conducting their own critical analysis of the subject area. Topics covered include personal and property rights in land, land registration, adverse possession, freehold, leases and mortgages, ownership, and human rights and property law.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

7. Acquisition of an estate by adverse possession  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. Another way to acquire an estate in land is by adverse possession. The Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002) made major changes to the process of acquiring registered land by adverse possession, but the old rules continue to apply to unregistered land (and registered land where the period of adverse possession was completed before the new Act came into force). This chapter considers what is required to establish adverse possession, and then uses the example of another house in Trant Way, No 3 Trant Way, to illustrate the three systems in operation: adverse possession of unregistered land; adverse possession of registered land under LRA 1925; and the new system of adverse possession of registered land established by LRA 2002. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the human rights issues arising from adverse possession.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

6. Registered land  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. The Land Registration Act 1925, which governed the system of registered land, was repealed and replaced by the Land Registration Act 2002, which in the main came into force on 13 October 2003. This chapter focuses on the terms of the 2002 Act and the rules made under it (Land Registration Rules 2003). The discussion covers the basics of land registration, including the appearance of the land register and the types of entry that can be made on it; the process of first registration of unregistered land; the formalities for transferring and creating rights in registered land; the protection of purchasers of registered land and the role of overriding interests; and the circumstances in which the register can be changed and those who have suffered loss by reason of the registration system can be indemnified by the state. It illustrates the law by reference to the case of Mr and Mrs Armstrong who were introduced in Chapter 3 as buyers of a registered freehold estate, 1 Trant Way.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

8. The freehold estate  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter discusses the nature of the freehold estate, and the impact of the 1925 Act on the freedom of a landowner to create limited or ‘successive’ freehold estates (such as life estates, estates for the life of another, and estates that are determinable or contingent on some event). It illustrates the law by reference to the case of David Derby, the owner of 4 Trant Way, who wants to give estates in the land to his niece, nephew, and friends on certain specific conditions. It concludes with a brief discussion of ‘commonhold’, a method for freehold owners of mutually interdependent properties (such a flats) to manage the shared spaces affecting all their properties.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

14. Trusts of land  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter provides an overview of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996), with a special focus on the impact of the Act on the rights of beneficiaries and the duties of trustees under settlements of land created after 1 January 1997. These are illustrated by reference to: Mary Brown, the owner of 10 Trant Way, who needs advice about creating a settlement in her will; and six students who hold 8 Trant Way as co-owners, and are therefore subject to a statutory trust of land.

Chapter

Cover The Principles of Land Law

6. Adverse Possession  

This chapter focuses on adverse possession, which is the obtention of title to land by means of possession without permission. It is the natural and logical consequence of the combination of the principle of relativity of title and of limitation (time limits) on actions. The chapter then analyses the rules relating to adverse possession, considering both unregistered land and registered land. Adverse possession is one of the few areas where the unregistered land rules are still regularly taught. The chapter also looks at the special situation which emerges when the rules on adverse possession interact with leases. Moreover, it examines the relationship between the adverse possession rules and criminal law. Finally, the chapter explores the justifications or explanations behind adverse possession, including the relationship between these rules and human rights.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

25. Freehold covenants  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter discusses covenants affecting freehold land. It covers the enforceability of covenants, including enforcement against later acquirers of land; the problem of positive covenants; remedies; the discharge of covenants; and proposals for reform of the law. It illustrates the law by reference to 17 and 18 Trant Way, two freehold properties previously owned by Olive Orange and sold by her subject to a number of covenants, and by reference to 20 Trant Way, a property development comprising several freehold bungalows which were individually sold subject to certain covenants.

Chapter

Cover Textbook on Land Law

4. The contract  

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on Land Law provides an accessible overview of one key area on the law curriculum. This chapter explains the contract for the sale of an estate or an interest in land. It discusses the rules for contracts made on or after September 1989; contracts made before 27 September 1989; and the use of estoppel and constructive trusts to replace part performance after the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. It also covers the effects of a valid contract to sell land and applies the law to the sale of the freehold property, 2 Trant Way.