Indefeasibility of Title under the Land Registration Act 2002

AuthorRoss W. Martin
S.S.L.R. Indefeasibility of Title under the Land Registration Act 2002
The Threat to Indefeasibility of Title under the Land
Ross W. Martin
The Land Registration Act 2002 introduced a system of electronic
conveyancing into English law without a clear hierarchy of norms and as such
constituted a system that is highly threatening to the principle of
indefeasibility of title. Specifically, the provision of open network access and
automatic registration of title have been introduced without safety
mechanisms to prevent potential abuse. Through comparative analysis this
essay will show how other jurisdictions maintain indefeasibility of title while
giving effect to other norms, and show how none of these safety mechanisms
is present in England and Wales. As such the law is flawed and should be
'The problem with a system of land registration is that when the Indians
attack your little town in Oklahoma and burn down the post office, the whole
thing goes to hell.'
My father
he system of electronic conveyancing envisioned in the Land
Registration Act 2002 is a complete mess and should be abandoned or
at least heavily reformed. Its problem is that it does not know what its
priorities are; rather, it is a jumble of ideas that sound good in isolation but do
not fit together at all. The fundamental norm of any system of land
registration is the state's guarantee of indefeasibility of title by registration.
The laws created under that system are supposed to give effect to that norm.
Unfortunately, the system of automatic registration, when combined with
other provisions related to network access and electronic signature, does not
guarantee that indefeasibility. To (mis-)appropriate the terminology of Hans
Kelsen, the law does not create a strict hierarchy of norms, whence its
incoherence. This full argument will be examined after I have discussed one
other problem I have identified in the law, viz., its treatment of executory

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