By English land law is meant the land law of England and Wales, two of the four parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the other two parts being Scotland and Northern Ireland. England and Wales use the same land law, and Northern Ireland (like the Irish Republic) also uses English land law, but subject to the legislation of its own Parliament. There is, therefore, no such thing as British land law. The English Land law can only be explained by an elaborate historical analysis. A system of land law has developed over many centuries, over which there has been significant reforms to the law. William the Conqueror established a feudal system in which he claimed, as the Crown, ownership of all the land in England which was granted to the public in return. These concepts were refined and further codified for centuries until the beginning of 1926 which embraced a noteworthy surge of legislative reforms, including the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925) and the Land Registration Act 1925. Since the definition for land is fairly complex and fairly wide, it is essential to establish whether the land includes all items that are on/in it, whether the property is deemed to be personal property that can be taken away, when a property is exchanged in a sale or leased, or it is ‘real' property that cannot be taken away. Defining land is not as straight forward as one might hope, for there is no single authorative , statutory definition. However a good starting point is the partial definition of “land” in the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925) S.205 (1) (ix):“Land includes any of tenure, and mines and minerals, whether or not held apart from the surface, buildings or parts of buildings(whether the division is horizontal , vertical or made in any other way...” The definition in this statute leaves a lot to be desired, for a start it is only a partial definition. It begins; “Land includes” and what this means is land may include things that are not mentioned in this definition. It is very central to the Latin maxim; “ cuius est solum eius est usque ad coleum et ad inferos neccesam” which is usually translated in English to have the following meaning; “ the rights of the surface owner extend upwards to the heavens and downward toward the centre of the earth” .This was cited in the case of Corbett V Hill(1870). One must realise that the aged Latin maxim hardly helps with the definition of land and to what we own. Kevin Gray states that;” whatever the maxim cuius est solum .... to the common lawyer of earlier centuries it has since become obvious that its legal meaning is now heavily qualified by the arrival of more recent technologies . Gray recognises that which, although it is hard to determine land in the modern world we need to take a logical and clear approach. Section 1(1) of the LPA 1925 states that there are only two estates that are capable of subsisting or being created at law as “freehold” or “leasehold” estates. A freehold estate, also known as an estate in fee simple absolute in possession is an estate that is capable of and has no restrictions on who can inherit it, has no conditions attached to the ownership of the estate and is being currently enjoyed. A leasehold estate, also known as a term of years absolute is a much more limited estate than a freehold, such as a lease which has a fixed duration which is agreed upon at the start. When the lease expires, the estate will regress back to the initial person who granted the lease. The leaseholder will have gained an equitable interest, which are defined in Section 1(3) of the LPA 1925, in the property during the time of his/her occupation as leaseholder. Law of Property Act 1925(LPA 1925), Land Registration Act 1925/2002 (LRA 1925/2002) The aims of English property law was extensively restructured in 1925 due to its complexities and irregularities, this has been carefully and precisely summarised. It has been the policy of the law for...
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