Land Registration Act 2002

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The Government’s proposals for electronic conveyancing provide for a secure and swift system of transferring title TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION Background to the Land Registration Act 20022 Criticisms of Existing Legislation3 The Object of Reform4 IMPLEMENTATION The 2001 Report4 Paper Based Conveyancing Practice5 The Anticipated Model5 Compulsory Use of Electronic Conveyancing6 THE NEW SYSTEM The 2002 Act7 The Scheme of the Act – An Overview7 The New System in Practice9 Comparison with Paper Based Conveyancing10 LAND REGISTRY PRACTICE Detailed Implementation of the System11 Electronic Funds Transfer12 CONCLUSION A Conveyancing Revolution?14 Bibliography15 INTRODUCTION Background to the Land Registration Act 2002 It may be argued that the Land Registration Act 2002 represents the most significant development in conveyancing since the reforms of 1925. Its genesis can be traced to the joint Law Commission and Land Registry consultative document Land Registration for the Twenty First Century[1] published in 1998 which set out a framework for the development of conveyancing over the ensuing decades. Abbey and Richards[2] suggest that this was motivated by three growing pressures: the growth in demand for electronic conveyancing, the fact that current legislation was complicated and unclear and the reality that some 80% of all titles were by then registered.

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The extent of this registration undoubtedly paved the way for serious consideration of a shift to an electronic system but it is perhaps the growth in use and acceptance of new technology which was the primary driving factor. This document (para.1.2) readily acknowledges the reality of a situation that was already in process of evolution:

  • The whole of England and Wales had been subject to compulsory registration since 1990 with the result that most conveyances of unregistered land now have to be completed by registration; thus the pattern of registration was progressively becoming more comprehensive still;
  • The register is now open and can be searched without the consent of the registered proprietor;
  • The register is already computerised with most titles entered on the system; and,
  • A system of direct access to the computerised register which was introduced in January 1995 enables those who are connected to it to search the register instantly.

A trial had already been commenced with a lending institution of a system of electronic requests for the discharge of mortgages. Thus the Joint Working Group concluded: “The probable outcome of these developments will be a system under which registration becomes an essential element for the creation and transfer of estates,

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