Land law is part of property law, where property can be defined in this context as the condition of being owned by way of a legal relationship. Land is known as ‘real property’.

This section and its proceeding pages will consider the structure of modern land law, its main inconsistencies and the two methods through which land can be traded: through title deeds conveyancing and through registered title conveyancing.

Land has some special characteristics as against other types of property: it is unique; limited in supply; permanent and indestructible; connected to other land; has social importance and can sustain multiple interests. Whilst one person may ‘own’ the property by having an ‘ownership interest’, third parties might also have interests in the property: a bank may be in possession of a mortgage over the property; a neighbour might have a right of access to his garage over the property and a tenant might rent the property from the person with the ownership interest.

The ‘multiple interests’ characteristic of land is usually the source of issues within land law. There may be disputes over: the nature or content of interests; their creation, or the priority of interests. In the Landmark case of Williams and Glyn’s Bank v Boland [1981], for example, the question was whether a bank’s mortgage from a husband could take priority over the husband’s wife, who also had an interest in the house as a result of her contribution to the purchase price...

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