Prior Position before Reforms to Land Register Act – 1979

Rectification was set out in section 9 of the 1979 act, however the definition of inaccuracy has been singled out as being impractical and too vague.

There was no clear definition within the act as to what amounts to an inaccuracy in relation to rectification of title. Rectification is predicated on an inaccuracy, however there is no definition in statue of what an inaccuracy amounts to which was pointed out by Gretton in 1986.This is further evidenced in Brookfield Developments Ltd against The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland 1989 in which a wide of definition of inaccuracy was held. This illustrates there was no set definition.

Arguably the most significant feature of the Land Register 1979 act was that once the title is registered the keeper would refuse to rectify any mistakes in this record against a proprietor in possession except in the cases of fraud or manifest error of that proprietor. Per S 9(3) the power of the keeper to rectify any changes to the register was severely limited. It has been known for someone with no rightful claim to an area of land to take advantage of the keeper’s position by taking claim over the land, which makes rectification impossible.  However as seen in Dougbar Properties Ltd v Keeper of the Registers of Scotland 1999 the keeper can rectify as in this case the inaccuracy was the fault of the keeper per S9(1) the keeper was entitled to alter the registration, The only available remedy is compensation by the keeper for their mistake, however this is not always deemed satisfactory by the party which has lost out. Not only is the 1979 Act deficient in matters of policy, but also, notoriously, it fails to provide answers even to quite straightforward questions according to Kenneth Reid.

Further to this the act has been as described in Short’s Trustees against The keeper by Lord Jauncey of tullichettle : stated that “nobody could accuse the act of being well drafted, Further to this Lord Keith of Kinkel said that the act was “obscure and difficult to understand” This is was down to the urgency in which the legislation pushed through at the time. There have been clearly issues with how it has been implemented and interpretated as evidenced.

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