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Posted by: Joe Diamond - Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
The origins of English land law can be traced back as far as the Roman times. In those days, as has been the case ever since, land ownership demonstrated a certain level of social hierarchy, with the more land one owned, the higher up the social ladder they were.
After William the Conqueror took the throne in 1066, he started to compile records of all land and its value in order to work out the levels of taxes in the Domesday Book of 1086. Lords were then given estates of land that they could split and give to tenants who were bound by the feudal system to pay the Crown for the privilege. This tended to be in the form of either manual labour or serving in the army, but could also be inlicensed conveyancer Swansea the form of taxes. As time went on, the feudal system weakened, with more money being paid and less obligation to provide labour and armed service. The system also became open to more and more abuse. For a long time it remained the case that land could not be easily bought or sold, but was instead granted or inherited or transferred in marriage.
It wasn’t until the early 19th century that a great change in land law came about. The Wills Act of 1837 confirmed that every adult had the power to dispose of any interest they had in land by will upon their death. From that time, and in fairly quick succession, a number of other pieces of legislation passed through Parliament which dealt with real estate. For example, the Conveyance of Real Property Act 1845 and the Conveyancing Act of 1881, were both put in place to simplify and improve the practice of conveyancing. The Forfeiture Act of 1870 abolished the need of those convicted of treason or felony to automatically sacrifice up their land to the Crown as punishment. There were also further attempts to deal with the registration of land, in the form of the Land Transfer Act 1875 which proposed a system whereby land would be placed on a register, however this was voluntary and not widely taken up.
The biggest change in land law came about in 1925 with the origins of our current legal practices relating to conveyancing being there. This was because of the Law of Property Act 1925. The main purpose of this Act was to simplify the whole process. It took all of the types of land which were in existence and consolidated them into two: Freehold and Leasehold. This Act ensured that more guidelines regarding the ownership of land could be set and there would be less room for interpretation.. Even today, all land is technically owned by the Crown, and it is for this reason that it is nigh on impossible to complete a property transaction without the help of a licensed conveyancer or solicitor.
Over the course of the 20th century, several other changes occurred such as land becoming more social with more and more houses being constructed by local governments. The changes to property ownership can also be seen with the advancement of gender equality, with women contributing towards the purchase of houses.
The most recent vital piece of legislation is the Land Registry Act 2002 which streamlines land registration and helps to regulate the role that HM Land Registry has in the whole process.
In terms of conveyancing itself, since the early 19th century, the monopoly of the conveyancing sector has been held by qualified solicitors. This was because no one else was qualified to undertake the work. In fact, it wasn’t until the Administration of Justice Act 1985 that the profession of ‘Licensed Conveyancer’ came about. Solicitors tend to only undertake ‘local work’ and try to use this to say that local knowledge is key and is an advantage, whereas in reality all conveyancers carry out exactly the same work, and therefore local knowledge has very little impact on a property transaction.
Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors are both equally qualified to act on a property transaction. Both are regulated and insured. However Licensed Conveyancers have a number of advantages. For example, they only deal with property law whereas solicitors tend to specialise in many aspects of law. This can mean that they would be out at court instead of in the office, and therefore the whole process slows down. At Dezrezlegal, we are constantly working on files to drive them to completion as efficiently as possible for all parties involved. Also, Licensed Conveyancers tend to charge less for their services and usually use more modern methods of communication. For example, at Dezrezlegal we use an online portal system which allows our clients to access documents pertaining to their file 24/7. Furthermore, Licensed Conveyancers can act for both the seller and purchaser in a property transaction, thus speeding up the process further with communication only having to go from one team to another. Therefore if you want a fast, efficient and less-stressful experience, use Dezrezlegal.