Registered conveyancing

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The process of buying or selling an Estate in land which is registered with the land registry. In principle, registered conveyancing is simpler and less risky for the purchaser than Unregistered conveyancing, because most encumbrances on the seller's title will be disclosed on the register, against the registered title itself (not the seller). At the time of writing, the Editing Land registration act (2002) had just come into force, displacing the 1925 Act. Although the 2002 Act makes many technical ammendments to the law of registered conveyancing, the basic principles remain the same. When the seller buys a registered estate, he gets the title as indicated on the register, but subject to any third-party minor interests noted on the register, and subject to any Overriding interest that may exist. An ideal system of land registration would be a perfect implementation of the Mirror principle, but the continuing need to accept the existence of overriding interests prevents this perfect implementation. However, the 2002 Act substantially reduces the number and scope of overriding interests.

It was always the intention of the legislators that the doctrine of notice have little or no application to registered conveyancing. If an interest is noted on the registered against the registered title, this is equivalent to the purchaser of the estate having notice of it. If the interest is not so noted, then the purchaser is, or should be, deemed to have no notice. It presents a problem for the courts if the purchaser is patently aware of an interest that affects the title, but claims not to be bound by it because it was not registered. In peffer v rigg (1976), the judge gave effect to an unprotected minor interest by by interpreting s.3(xxi) of the land registration act (1925) as implying that a 'purchaser for value' had to be acting in 'good faith'. Since the purchaser and the vendor were effectively collaborating in a fraud, the purchase could not really be deemed to be in good faith. The judge also held that, even if the good faith test were satisfied, the court had jurisdiction to impose aConstructive Trust on the purchaser on general equitable principles.

This problem -- holding that registration is equivalent to notice, even where to do so allows a fraud to be perpetrated -- is not new to registered land. For example, in midland bank v green (1981) CourtOfAppeal was prepared to hold the purchaser bound to an prior interest that ought to have been registered as aland charge, but was not. The decision was taken on the basis that the purchaser had not offered 'value', and was thus not a 'purchaser for value'. This reasoning is similar to that of the judge in Peffer. However, the House of lords reversed this decision, and restored the strict letter of the law.

See registered title for information about the register entries themselves.

Land and Property Law