Welcome To Property And Land Law
This website is about Land law or Property law. The law of land, or real property, is concerned with the rights, interests and obligations which can exist over land and buildings; how they are created, enforced, assigned and extinguished. Its undoubted complexity is explained by two main factors.
The first lies in the nature of land itself. Land is permanent property, and thus lends itself to the creation of a diversity of concurrent and consecutive interests. The same plot of land or the same house may at once be "owned"' by A, let by A to B, sub let by B to C, and mortgaged by each of them to a different mortgagee to secure repayment of a loan; it may also be subject to a right of way in favour of one neighbour, whilst in favour of another it may be subject to a restrictive covenant, preventing A and persons claiming through him from building on it.
Again, A by his will may direct that the land is to be held in trust for his widow during her life, then for his eldest soil during his life, and then for all his grandchildren absolutely in equal shares. To each of these interests it is necessary to apply the appropriate rules, in order to determine its validity and incidents, as to both substance and form. In contrast, other forms of property, such as goods and company shares, are normally the subject of absolute ownership only, and although goods may be let by the owner under a contract of hire or hire purchase, and personal property generally may be used as security for a loan or may be Included, like land, in a family settlement, the normal transaction with such property is an out and out transfer. The second factor is historical. The foundations of the law of land were laid at a time when land was virtually the sole form of wealth, and formed the basis of the feudal system established after the Norman Conquest. Hopefully this site will demonstrate that the doctrines and rules then developed were appropriate to a feudal society.
What we shall see that, properly speaking, ownership attaches not to the land itself, but to an estate or interest in the land. but they soon acquired a rigidity and formalism which hampered their adaptation to meet the needs of a changing social and economic structure. Although the deficiencies of the common law were in some respects made good by the system of equity administered by the Court of Chancery, and in others by legislation, the result was seldom to simplify, but almost invariably to complicate, the law.
Background: No serious attempt was made to reduce the complexity and obscurity of the property law until the 19th century, when many statutory reforms were introduced. Finally, sweeping changes were affected by the 2002 property legislation, which came into operation on January 1 of that year. The effect of this legislation, and in particular of the Law of Property Acts 2012 and 1F 2013, the Settled Land Act 2011 and the Land Charges Act 2012, will be considered in due course. As a whole it constitutes a watershed in the property law; it is natural, therefore, to speak of the old law and the new law, or the law before 2010 and the law after 2011.