Area(s) of Law :
Source : EWHC 1326 (Ch)
Land Registration Act 2002; Alteration; Exceptional Circumstances
The Council applied to the Land Registry for rectification of the register in respect of a strip of land which they owned, but which the register showed as belonging to the respondents, Mr. and Mrs Fallon, who objected. The Adjudicator, while accepting that paper title to the land in question did belong to the council and that the general boundaries rule applied in order to determine the exact line of the boundary, nonetheless declined to order alteration of the register on the grounds that there remained an unresolved issue as to whether the Council would be able to recover its land from Mr. and Mrs Fallon. The Council appealed. Held: The Court upheld the Adjudicator’s decision. While in the normal course of things it is preferable for the register to be altered so as to be more accurate even if the alteration simply consists of moving a general boundary from one position to another, this is not necessarily the case. The Adjudicator was entitled, in the exercise of his discretion under Schedule 4 Paragraph 5 of the Land Registration Act 2002 to take into account facts which were irrelevant to the paper title, but were relevant to the question of the de facto right to enjoy the land, and thus to the question whether any useful purpose would be served by amending the register. In the circumstances the actions of the Council, including granting planning consent to Mr. and Mrs. Fallon in respect of the disputed land, were such that a court might very well refuse any attempt by the Council to recover the land, such that the alteration would result in a register that accorded with the legal but not factual position. re.