Bringing Land Registration into the Twenty–First Century – The Land Registration Act 2002

Publication Date01 Jul 2002
AuthorBarbara Bogusz
Bringing Land Registration into the Twenty-First
Century – The Land Registration Act 2002
Barbara Bogusz*
Land registration in England and Wales is embarking on a new voyage. Reforms
proposed by the Land Registration Act 20021(LRA 2002) seek to transport
conveyancing into a new technologically advanced era, and remedy the
deficiencies and limitations with the Land Registration Act 1925 (LRA 1925)
and subsequent amending legislation. The objective of the Act, which will repeal
the LRA 1925, is to create a truly transparent accurate and comprehensive
Register. The Act has its origins in the consultative document entitled ‘Land
Registration for the Twenty-First Century’ published in 1998,2which provided a
forum for stimulated debate in this area. The joint Law Commission and Land
Registry Report of 20013published simultaneously with the Bill, endeavoured to
assist in dissemination of the changes introduced by the Bill, reviewed the current
legal position and indicated the departures from the 1998 Consultative Document.
The purpose of this note is to consider some of the key changes that are
introduced by the new Act to the system of land registration in England and Wales,
and the impact the changes will have on conveyancing law and practice. Some
aspects of the reforms, for example, reducing the number of overriding interests or
compulsory first registration for leases over seven years duration are particularly
welcome. These developments will undoubtedly help to simplify conveyancing
and protect third party rights. Other changes, such as the introduction and
development of electronic conveyancing (e-conveyancing), leave a number of
unanswered questions relating to implementation and regulation. This will require
further secondary legislation and a significant change in practice amongst solicitors
before the full benefit of e-conveyancing can be brought to all property buyers.
The introduction of e-conveyancing in the LRA 2002 continues a popular theme
witnessed in much of the legislation introduced by the Labour Government. The
Government, focusing on the concept of modernising the state, has demonstrated a
keen interest in bringing the benefits of Information Technology to the public
services and the process of government and administration more generally.4In this
commitment to use new technology, the Government is seeking to meet the needs
of both citizens and business, and not trail behind technological developments
being used in many other European Union (EU) countries. The LRA 2002 in
seeking to introduce this technology into conveyancing law and practice, which is
ßThe Modern Law Review Limited 2002 (MLR 65:4, July). Published by Blackwell Publishers,
108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.556
*Faculty of Law, University of Leicester.
1 The Bill received Royal Assent on 26 February 2002.
2 Law Com No 254.
3 Law Com No 271.
4 CM 4310 White Paper ‘Modernising Government’.

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