The Statutory Provisions in the Land Registration Act
The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate the extent to which overriding interests undermine the reliability of the land register. It is submitted at the outset that it is vital to undertake a contextual analysis in light of the implementation of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA), which undertook a significant overhaul of the registration system.
The LRA came into force in 2002 and the Law Commission Report Number 271 “Land Registration for the Twenty-First Century1” asserted the overriding purpose of the LRA 2002 is the implementation of a novel framework of land registration, which would, in turn, demonstrate a more complete and up to date state of title.
Additionally, one of the central objectives of the LRA 2002 was “to reduce the number of overriding interests which are binding upon a purchaser of a registered title”2. Conversely, Sexton comments that the “2002 Act achieves this purpose only to a very limited degree”3. Accordingly, whilst central driver of the LRA 2002 of the 2002 Act is to limit the scope of third party overriding interests, it the degree to which this objective has been achieved remains questionable, which lends itself to the argument that overriding interests prima facie render the Land Register unreliable particularly as a central issue of concern in contemporary conveyancing is the applicability of any third party proprietary rights.
If we first consider the line of argument that overriding interests render the land register unreliable, this would appear to be supported by the wide category of overriding interests4 and Sexton comments that under the registered title system the general principle is that “all third party rights against a registered estate and all short term leases are either overriding or minor interests”. The pre-2002 system was governed by the Land Registration Act 1925, which listed overriding interests in section 70(1).
Accordingly, whilst the objective of the LRA 2002 was to significantly reduce the number of overriding interests binding a purchaser .of registered title, Cooke argues that the provisions of the LRA 2002 have paradoxically perpetuated uncertainty by effectively creating two different sets of overriding interests.