United Kingdom

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Contact person for provided information:


Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

Country/state for which the indications are valid:

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Name of contact person

Richard Grover

Affiliation, Organization:

Oxford Brookes University

Function, Position:

Senior Lecturer in Real Estate

Address:

Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK

Email address:

rgrover@brookes.ac.uk


Part 1: Country Report




A. Country Context


A.1 Geographical Context

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The UK is an archipelago off the north-west coast of Europe on the edge of the North Atlantic continental shelf. Most of the population lives on the largest island, Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland and Wales. The six counties in the north-east of Ireland also form part of the UK. There are a number of archipelagos and islands lying off the two main islands, including the Inner and Outer Hebrides (lying off the west coast of Scotland), the Orkneys and Shetlands (off the north coast of Scotland), the Scilly Islands (off the south-west coast of England), and the Isle of Wight (off the coast of southern England). Many of the smaller islands are uninhabited or sparsely populated, but there are also substantial island communities, including significant towns with important local administrative and commercial functions. 

The UK is an island state with just one land border of 360 kilometres with the Republic of Ireland. It has a huge length of coastline that is difficult to measure definitively because of all the little inlets and bays.  The Ordnance Survey gives a figure of 17,820 kilometres excluding Northern Ireland. The precise figure does depend upon how one chooses to measure the distances between each little indentation. The Ordnance Survey takes the mean high water line and extends into estuaries as far as the normal tidal limit. To put the length of the coastline into perspective, the north-south distance of Great Britain is approximately 970 kilometres and the east-west distance is approximately 380 kilometres. The furthest one can be from the sea is approximately 100 kilometres.

The UK claims a 12 mile (19.3 km) territorial area and a 200 mile (322 km) economic zone on the UK Continental Shelf. These areas are substantial since they are measured from the furthest islands. For example, Rockall lies 483 kilometres from the Scottish coast. The climate is temperate and relatively warm in winter for its latitude as a result of the influence of the sea and the Gulf Stream.

The land area of the UK is 241,930 square kilometres excluding inland water. About 1% of the surface area is made up of inland fresh water. Most of the UK is low lying hills, the highest point (Ben Nevis) being 1,343 metres above sea level. The UK is an old settled country, the landscape of which has been profoundly altered by millennia of human settlement and agriculture. As a result, there are few genuine wilderness areas, with 7% of the land being non-farm grass, mountain, moors and heath. However, even parts of this are managed land with the ecology being manipulated for shooting or the preservation of habitats.  Changing methodologies have meant revisions to past statistics on land use. Using the methods developed for an experimental system of environmental economic accounting, agriculture accounts for 69% of the land area with 20% of the land being used for arable crops and the remainder for grassland. Agriculture is intensive and highly productive. Urban areas make up 12% and forests 12% of the land area.

The population of the UK is 64 million, of whom 84% of the population live in England, 8% in Scotland, 5% in Wales, and 3% in Northern Ireland. The UK has a population density of 2.6 persons per hectare but this conceals significant variations within the country. The population density of England is 4.1 persons per hectare, Scotland 0.7, Wales 1.5, and Northern Ireland 1.3. The density for London is 52 persons per hectare. Over 80% of the population live in urban or peri-urban areas.


A.2 Historical Context

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The United Kingdom is the product of unions between three kingdoms and a principality. England became a unified country in the tenth century but from the eighth century the Saxon kingdoms were dominated by the southern kingdom of Wessex. In 1282 the English King Edward I conquered Wales and in 1301 made the heir to the throne the Prince of Wales. In 1707 the Act of Union between England and Scotland created a single national parliament, although the crowns had been united since 1603. In 2014 a referendum was held in Scotland to determine whether it should become an independent country with the majority voting in favour of the continuation of the union. The Act of Union did not create a unified legal system and Scottish law differs in some respects from that in England and Wales. Land registration in Scotland is carried out by a different body than in England and Wales and there are some differences in land law between them. In a referendum in 2014, the people of Scotland rejected the opportunity to regain independence from the United Kingdom.

The Act of Union of 1800 united Great Britain and Ireland to form the United Kingdom, although Britain had controlled Ireland for several centuries previously. However the majority Catholic population of Ireland opposed British rule, the rest of the UK being predominantly Protestant. A long series of uprisings eventually resulted in the island of Ireland being partitioned in 1921 and the independent Irish Free State (Eire) being created in 1922. Ulster (Northern Ireland), with its Protestant majority, remained part of the UK. It had its own devolved parliament until 1973. During the 1960s civil rights protests against discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland gave way to an armed insurgency campaign by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. The British government viewed the devolved parliament as one of the means by which the majority was able to discriminate against the minority. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 brought the insurgency to an end with the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. This is on a power-sharing basis rather than through majority rule to ensure that the minority Catholic population are represented in the government. As part of the peace process the Irish Constitution was amended to remove Ireland’s claim to sovereignty over Northern Ireland. A number of cross-border institutions were created as part of the peace process. The organisation of land registration in Northern Ireland is different from that of the rest of the UK, being undertaken by a body that brings together mapping, land registration and property taxation.


A.3 Current Political and Administrative Structures

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The UK is a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The powers the monarch personally can exercise are extremely limited. Generally the monarch can only act on the “advice” of Her Ministers. The UK has a history of deposing monarchs who do not follow this advice. As the Queen is the Fount of Justice, the Head of the Armed Forces and the Head of the Church of England, the monarchy symbolises that part of the state to which the population owes loyalty and gives deference, and is distinct from whoever currently makes up the government, who can be opposed without disloyalty to the state. The government acts in the Queen’s name and can make use of the powers of the royal prerogative. The Queen is also the head of state of 15 other independent countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The UK government is responsible for 14 Overseas Territories, including Pitcairn Island, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, and for the defence and foreign relations of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, which are internally self-governing Crown Dependencies. The UK is one of 28 states that make up the European Union and has been a member of the EU since 1973.

The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the political party able to command a majority in the House of Commons, the lower of the two Houses of Parliament. The UK is a parliamentary democracy with cabinet government. Parliament consists of two chambers: the elected House of Commons and the House of Lords, which has a mixture of nominated and hereditary members. The House of Commons has the power to override the House of Lords. The members of the House of Commons, known as Members of Parliament (MPs), are elected by constituencies on a simple majority voting basis. There is no proportional representation in national elections. Ministers are members of one of the Houses of Parliament, mainly the House of Commons. This means that there is limited separation of powers since the political heads of the executive are also legislators. Since 2009 there has been an independent supreme court. Previously the highest court was the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, the members of which became the judges of the Supreme Court.

The UK is a unitary state with devolved governments for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is no devolved government for England for which the UK government and Parliament is responsible. The powers of the devolved governments vary but include home affairs, health and education. They have the power to set the annual property tax on business properties and to determine most aspects of land policy. Scotland has limited powers to vary the rate of income tax from the national rate. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK to have brought together mapping, land registration and real estate taxation into a single agency.


A.4 Historical Outline of Cadastral System

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The UK does not have a cadastre but does have a system of compulsory land registration. There is no central record of the precise location of boundaries. Instead a general boundaries rule exists. The government does not guarantee private boundaries.

The official mapping agency in the UK is the Ordnance Survey. As the name suggests, its origin was military. The 1745 Scottish Rebellion brought home to the government the need for detailed maps identifying which roads and bridges were capable of taking artillery and this resulted in the mapping of the Scotland Highlands by William Roy. Roy’s proposals to extend mapping to the whole of the country were not acted upon. However, threat of invasion by France after 1791 led to large scale mapping of the southern England coastal counties using a new Ramsden theodolite. Large scale civilian mapping began in 1841 when the Ordnance Survey was granted the right to enter land (statutory trespass) and to map boundary features. It has no legal power to fix private boundaries, though it is required to determine the official boundaries of public bodies.  Before 1841 many private maps had been produced but the spur to public mapping was the realisation that urbanisation and the new transport and other networks that resulted required accurate large scale maps. By 1895 Ordnance Survey had completed the mapping of the country at a scale of 25 inches to one mile (1:2500). Military involvement in the Ordnance Survey ceased in 1983. Since 1990 it has been an executive agency of government. It functions as a largely self-funding body. This means that it is expected to finance most of its activities from fee income paid by users rather than government grant. Digitisation was completed by 1995. Since 2001 the Ordnance Survey has maintained a Master Map geo-spatial database to which layers of information can be added, including ones by outside users, such as local authorities and police forces.

Compulsory land registration has existed in England only since 1926, though voluntary land registration started in 1862 and London has had compulsory registration since 1899. There has been a land register for Middlesex (the county next to London) since 1708. 1714. Initially compulsory registration only applied to specified geographical areas but since 1990 it has covered the whole country. Compulsory registration came about following major legal reforms in 1925. Until 1925 many owners of real estate possessed a tenure called copyhold rather than freehold. Under legislation passed in 1925, copyholds were converted into freeholds and this necessitated the creation of a national register of ownership.  Copyhold is the tenure derived from villeinage (serfdom). The copyholder proved title through a copy of the deed of entry recorded in the manorial register by the lord of the manor. Its abolition meant that copyholders needed an alternative means of proving title since manorial registers were no longer kept. In Scotland a register called the Register of Sasines dates back to 1617. The name is derived from seisen or the right to seize land. Legislation in 2000 abolished the remaining rights to collect feudal dues in Scotland and a plan-based land registry system run by Registers of Scotland since 1979 is in the process of replacing the Sasine Register on a sporadic basis. In 2007 the Land and Property Services (LPS) was created in Northern Ireland from the merger of the Rate Collection Agency and the Valuation & Lands Agency. In 2008 Land Registers of Northern Ireland and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland also merged with LPS to create the only integrated land registration, mapping and tax collection body in the UK.

From time to time proposals were made to create a general cadastre. For example, in 1836 R K Dawson, a Royal Engineer officer on secondment to the Tithe Commission, put forward a well-argued case for a cadastre and how it might be accomplished. Tithes were a tax on the produce of real estate used to support the Church of England on a parish by parish basis. Under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 tithes in kind were replaced by a fluctuating money payment. This required the determination of the boundaries for each parish or district for which tithes were payable and the tithe payment to be apportioned between landed estates according the value of the produce they produced. This meant that most parishes in England and Wales had to be mapped to a large scale so that legal boundaries were recorded, areas measured and the land valued. Dawson used civilian surveyors for this task, and produced detailed instructions for them and quality checks on their work. He argued that this work could become the basis for a cadastre and that Britain should follow continental practice in this respect. In particular he argued that this would lead to a reduction in boundary disputes and make for easier transfer of real estate. However, there was strong political opposition to the proposal to such an extent that the legislation was amended to prevent the tithe surveys from being used in this way. Dawson lost the power to determine the scale of the plans produced and to control the level of accuracy.

The only genuine cadastre is the Rural Lands Register which was created in order to implement the changes in the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy between 2003 and 2005. This changed the system of agricultural support from one based upon guaranteed prices to farmers to one based upon the area of agricultural land occupied. The Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) has to ensure that correct payments are made to farmers and that there is traceability of payments. In order to make the payments, Member States had to create and maintain a database of agricultural land parcels with their sizes and geo-references, which is linked to records of farmers and their aid applications. Each parcel in the Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) has to be correctly identified and measured and records kept of the persons who are permitted to make claims. Checks on claims are needed to ensure that the land is part of the UAA and that multiple claims are not made for any parcel. As land can be transferred between farmers, removed from agricultural production, or parcels can be joined together or divided, the register has to be capable of being updated. The EU has set tolerances for the accuracy of measurement of 5% or 1.5 metres to the perimeter, with a maximum tolerance of for each parcel of one hectare. This meant that the UK had for the first time to create a form of cadastre. The story of how this cadastre was created was one of chaos with serious delays in making payments to farmers and the threat of legal action against the UK by the EU. Part of the problem was inaccuracies in the older analogue maps. The cost of realising the register was £16.1 million compared with an estimate of £6.8 million, mainly as a result of the mapping costs in obtaining accurate information about parcel areas.

The UK is unusual in that it has a very active and efficient property market but no cadastre. Any government considering introducing one would have to carefully balance the cost against what are likely to be very limited benefits. There is likely to be strong resistance to the costs of creating and maintaining a cadastre being passed on to the population. By contrast, compulsory land registration has proved to be efficient, much cheaper than the deeds system it replaced, and a more reliable guarantor of property rights. Public opposition to the government maintaining records of the private ownership of property has therefore been minimal. There is a long history of resistance by the public to giving the government information about property and suspicions about the government’s motives in wanting this information. The UK is also a country that does not have a national system of identity cards and a strong civil liberties lobby opposed to this. As an old settled country, the UK is extensively monumented and has been for at least a millennium and a half. Not having been invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte meant that it did not have the Code Napoleon imposed on it. The absence of a cadastre may also reflect the power of myth and shared experience. In the year 1066 England was successfully invaded by William Duke of Normandy. From this developed a myth that the free self-governing Anglo-Saxons had fallen under the Norman yoke and been deprived of their liberties and land. This produced a view, prevalent until recently, that the struggle for democracy in Britain was about the restoration of ancient rights wrested away from a free people by a foreign king and his followers. This particular view was widely held during the period between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries when many of the principles behind modern constitutional settlement and land law were determined. It may be no accident that one of the acts for which William the Conqueror is best remembered is the Domesday Book of 1086, a cadastre which lists landholdings and who had previously held them, and became the basis for the recognition of property rights by the crown. 



B. Institutional Framework


B.1 Government Organizations

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

As there is no cadastre, there are no agencies responsible for cadastral surveying. The official mapping agency is the Ordnance Survey. Since 1999 it has been an executive agency with trading fund status, responsible to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Since 2008 the Shareholder Executive (the body that holds government shares in a range of nationalised and public bodies) has an executive role and advises ministers. The minster responsible for the Ordnance Survey appoints the Strategy Board.

Land registration is the responsibility of three regional bodies. For England and Wales, the body is the Land Registry, an executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Secretary of State for Justice, who discharges the responsibilities of the office of Lord Chancellor. In Northern Ireland land registration is the responsibility of Land & Property Services, an executive agency within the Department of Finance & Personnel for Northern Ireland. In Scotland land registration is the responsibility of Registers of Scotland, which maintains 14 registers, including the Register of Sasines and the Land Register, as a trading fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Land registration documents show boundary features but the term boundary has no special meaning in law. A boundary is a line of infinitely minimal width. It could only be mapped if the law gave it a substantive width. Under the general boundaries system the title plan shows the boundary of the property in relation to given physical features on the ground identified on an Ordnance Survey map. Land Registry is unable to tell where a boundary lies though normally it will fall somewhere along the physical boundary features.


B.2 Private Sector Involvement

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

There is no private sector involvement in land registration, though there was a plan to privatise the Land Registry, which has been dropped. There is no cadastre and, therefore, no cadastral surveying. There is partnering with the private sector as supplier of and to maintain servers for Land Registry. The current policy is to encourage organisations, including private bodies, to make available their location-based data as layers on Ordnance Survey digital maps and to develop innovative uses of data and services that add value to mapping data.


B.3 Professional Organization or Association

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

As there is no cadastre, there are no cadastral surveyors. The Ordnance Survey employs approximately 300 surveyors who have generally taken a first degree in a surveying discipline from a university and then after a period of supervised practice, taken the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Assessment of Professional Competence.


B.4 Licensing

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

As there is no cadastre, there is no system for licensing cadastral surveyors.


B.5 Education

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

As there is no cadastre, there is no education system for cadastral surveyors. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors does list cadastre as one of the competencies that candidates can offer to be examined on as part of their Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) in order to obtain membership. It is believed that very few candidates have ever taken this subject. The APC can be undertaken in different specialisms, including geomatics.



C. Cadastral System


C.1 Purpose of Cadastral System

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The original function of compulsory land registration was to provide a means of proving title to land once the remains of the feudal system and feudal transfers had been ended by legislation. Its main function now is to support the efficient operation of the land market by facilitating low cost and reliable transfers of land. The existence of a central land register has reduced the costs of carrying out due diligence when buying a property and for banks planning to lend on mortgages or other asset-backed loans. It has also improved the reliability of transfers and, therefore, the security of property rights. The register is backed by a government guarantee of its accuracy and a compensation fund. Under the previous deeds system, title was proved by a succession of transfers back to the original grant. In principle, any defect in transfer in the past could invalidate title. However this was modified by the law of adverse possession, by which a period of peaceful enjoyment (normally 12 years) secured title. Prior to compulsory registration, the owner under common law could be regarded merely as the person who currently held the best claim to the land and who, therefore, could be evicted if a better claimant emerged. Registration gives something closer to absolute ownership since ownership is now proved through entry in the register. It has also prevented a number of those with contingent claims over a property, for example to inheritance if the line of the heirs came to an end, from seeking to block its sale. Compulsory registration extinguished certain claims to property. It also resulted in others ceasing to be recorded and, therefore, becoming lost over time. A purchaser is therefore protected from remote claims. It has also resulted in modification to the principle of adverse possession. On notification of such a claim, the Land Registry cannot act until it has informed the person recorded as being the owner. It gives the owner a period of time in which the contest the claim and will only recognise the adverse possession claim if the person who was previously recorded as being the owner does not start an action to evict the usurper during this period. In effect, adverse possession, which was a pragmatic response to land going out of cultivation through the absence of heirs, is in the process of disappearing from the law as a consequence of compulsory registration.

The Rural Land Register exists in order to enable the government to make subsidy payments to farmers under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

There are two fiscal cadastres, for residential and non-residential properties. These are maintained by the Valuation Office Agency, an agency of HM Revenue and Customs. They are used for raising revenue through the council tax (on residential properties) and national non-domestic rates (non-residential properties other than agricultural). As these taxes are levied annually on the basis of the market value of the property in its current use – capital value for residential properties and rental value for non-residential. It is not necessary for these cadastres to have exact boundaries as the taxes are levied on the market value of the properties and not their land area. Small variations in the land area have little impact on the value of properties compared with the characteristics of the buildings and the size of the economically usable space and how the internal area can be used.

As there is no cadastre in the UK, there is extensive use of point-based systems in a variety of public services and by private companies. In other words activities are referenced by geo-coordinates of their location rather than of the boundaries of the parcels they occupy. These include the reference points for 440 million man-made and natural landscape features maintained by Ordnance Survey and addresses, place and street names, and land and property ownership details.


C.2 Types of Cadastral System

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The original function of compulsory land registration was to provide a means of proving title to land once the remains of the feudal system and feudal transfers had been ended by legislation. Its main function now is to support the efficient operation of the land market by facilitating low cost and reliable transfers of land. The existence of a central land register has reduced the costs of carrying out due diligence when buying a property and for banks planning to lend on mortgages or other asset-backed loans. It has also improved the reliability of transfers and, therefore, the security of property rights. The register is backed by a government guarantee of its accuracy and a compensation fund. Under the previous deeds system, title was proved by a succession of transfers back to the original grant. In principle, any defect in transfer in the past could invalidate title. However this was modified by the law of adverse possession, by which a period of peaceful enjoyment (normally 12 years) secured title. Prior to compulsory registration, the owner under common law could be regarded merely as the person who currently held the best claim to the land and who, therefore, could be evicted if a better claimant emerged. Registration gives something closer to absolute ownership since ownership is now proved through entry in the register. It has also prevented a number of those with contingent claims over a property, for example to inheritance if the line of the heirs came to an end, from seeking to block its sale. Compulsory registration extinguished certain claims to property. It also resulted in others ceasing to be recorded and, therefore, becoming lost over time. A purchaser is therefore protected from remote claims. It has also resulted in modification to the principle of adverse possession. On notification of such a claim, the Land Registry cannot act until it has informed the person recorded as being the owner. It gives the owner a period of time in which the contest the claim and will only recognise the adverse possession claim if the person who was previously recorded as being the owner does not start an action to evict the usurper during this period. In effect, adverse possession, which was a pragmatic response to land going out of cultivation through the absence of heirs, is in the process of disappearing from the law as a consequence of compulsory registration.

The Rural Land Register exists in order to enable the government to make subsidy payments to farmers under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

There are two fiscal cadastres, for residential and non-residential properties. These are maintained by the Valuation Office Agency, an agency of HM Revenue and Customs. They are used for raising revenue through the council tax (on residential properties) and national non-domestic rates (non-residential properties other than agricultural). As these taxes are levied annually on the basis of the market value of the property in its current use – capital value for residential properties and rental value for non-residential. It is not necessary for these cadastres to have exact boundaries as the taxes are levied on the market value of the properties and not their land area. Small variations in the land area have little impact on the value of properties compared with the characteristics of the buildings and the size of the economically usable space and how the internal area can be used.

As there is no cadastre in the UK, there is extensive use of point-based systems in a variety of public services and by private companies. In other words activities are referenced by geo-coordinates of their location rather than of the boundaries of the parcels they occupy. These include the reference points for 440 million man-made and natural landscape features maintained by Ordnance Survey and addresses, place and street names, and land and property ownership details.


C.3 Cadastral Concept

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

440 million individual objects are surveyed. These enable boundary features for parcels to be mapped.

Land registration is by ownership units. Other land rights and charges are entered against the title number of the estate burdened by them and often also against the title number of the estate that benefits from them as well. 


C.4 Content of Cadastral System

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

The land register comprises:

  • The property register, which identifies the location of the property, its extent, and any rights that benefit the land, and is supported by a title plan, which shows the approximate location and boundaries. These boundaries cannot be relied upon in law since the Ordnance Survey has no right to determine private boundaries.
  • The proprietorship register, which specifies the quality of the title, the names and addresses of the legal owners, and any restrictions on their power to sell, mortgage or deal with the land. It also records the sum of money reported to have been paid by the current proprietor.
  • The charges register, which includes details of mortgages and financial burdens, but not the amount involved. It also identifies other rights and interests to which the property is subject, such as leases, rights of way and covenants.

The register is fully computerised.



D. Cadastral Mapping


D.1 Cadastral Map

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

There is no cadastral map.


D.2 Example of a Cadastral Map

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

There is no cadastral map.


D.3 Role of Cadastral Layer in SDI

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

Ordnance Survey maps are widely used in land information systems. It is normal practice for local authorities to layer these maps with a variety of other types of information, in particular that used in spatial planning, for example which buildings are listed (ie have protected status for historical, cultural or aesthetic reasons) and which trees are subject to tree preservation orders. Other public bodies, such as police authorities, also do this eg plotting of crime incidents. Ordnance Survey has contracts with a number of utilities to maintain the databases of their facilities.



E. Reform Issues


E.1 Cadastral Issues

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

  1. The British approach to mapping and land registration has been based upon a cost recovery model, in which users meet the cost of the service. The government exerted pressure to ensure that prices have fallen over time and specifications increased. This model is dependent upon a buoyant property market to fund the fixed costs of land registration. The recession which hit the property market from 2007 resulted in a significant reduction in transactions and mortgages in both the residential and commercial property sectors, which in turn resulted in financial problems for the land registration services. The government on behalf of taxpayers, as the owners of these bodies, received dividends in the forms of payments for the use of capital employed in the land registries during periods in which the property market was buoyant. The implication is the taxpayers, as the owners of the equity in these bodies, will suffer losses in periods in which the market is depressed just as shareholders in commercial companies do.
  2. The cost recovery model in mapping is under threat from the EU policy of making public information available to the public, including commercial companies. National mapping has been substantially underwritten by the commercial services offered by Ordnance Survey, which are based upon its monopoly of mapping data and the ability to charge license fees for its use. This is a different model used by many cadastre bodies elsewhere in the EU, which are funded by government grant and implicitly funded by private landowners paying for cadastral surveys whenever they undertake an activity that changes the base map. This is a different type of cost recovery model from that used in the UK since it implies that those who cause changes in the base map should pay for these rather than those who use the base maps.
  3. The use of on-line services through the internet means that fewer local offices are required for land registration. When this is added to falling income as a result of the recession in the property market after 2007, it has meant that offices have had to be closed and personnel made redundant in order to keep the system financially viable. Land registration services have become less local and are experiencing the same trends found in retailing – less reliance by customers on visits to an office and greater use of on-line services.


E.2 Current Initiatives

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

Land registration has undergone a major change in the delivery of services with offices being closed and services being moved on-line. The Land Registry now has just 13 offices in addition to its headquarters. In 2014 56% of applications affecting a registered title were made electronically.

The government has had to exploring ways of separating the public information aspect of Ordnance Survey’s work from the commercial elements in which value is added to the basic geo-reference data. There has been a debate as to what level of data analysis represents the public information, with Ordnance Survey arguing that it is the raw reference data and commercial interests, who would like to make greater use of its data to produce products for sale, that it should be map data. There has been an increase in the availability of free Ordnance Survey data for use by the public and in education. The government is currently developing a Public Information Corporation to exploit the intellectual property rights from public data. The data from the Ordnance Survey together with that from the Meteorological Office forms the major part of commercially valuable public data.

Land Registry has campaigned to get absentee owners to keep their details up to date so it can check suspicious transactions and reduce the potential for fraud. It has also removed certain documents (such as scanned mortgage deeds and leases) from the on-line register so that they can be obtained only by application, which requires evidence of identity when a party not legally represented applies for a change to the register. The Land Registry typically pays out £11 million a year in compensation, mainly for fraud.. In October 2008 the National Fraud Strategic Authority was created and this has targeted mortgage fraud. Both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Council for Mortgage Lenders have issued guidance on valuing developer incentives and how developers can seek to secure inflated prices being record in the register for new properties through the “headline” price being reported without this being adjusted for any incentives given to the buyer, such as the developer paying the buyer’s legal fees, removal costs or Stamp Duty Land Tax. The effect is to produce comparable evidence of the market value that is misleading and can have the effect of boosting the prices of the later properties in the development sold.



F. References


Last modified on 01-Jan-1970



Part 2: Cadastral Principles and Statistics




1. Cadastral Principles

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

1.1 Type of registration system


title registration
deeds registration

1.2 Legal requirement for registration of land ownership


compulsory
optional

1.4 Approach for establishment of cadastral records




systematic
sporadic
both, systematic and sporadic
all properties already registered



2. Cadastral Statistics

Last modified on 24-Nov-2014

2.1 Population

64,000,000

2.2a Population distribution: percentage of population living in urban areas

80

2.2b Population distribution: percentage of population living in rural areas

20

2.3 Number of land parcels

24,000,000
--- Number of land parcels per 1 million population
375,000

2.4 Number of registered strata titles/condominium units

0
--- Number of strata titles/condominium units per 1 million population
0

2.5 Legal status of land parcels in URBAN areas:

percentage of parcels that are properly registered and surveyed
80
percentage of parcels that are legally occupied, but not registered or surveyed
20
percentage of parcels that are informally occupied without legal title
0

2.6 Legal status of land parcels in RURAL areas:

percentage of parcels that are properly registered and surveyed
50
percentage of parcels that are legally occupied, but not registered or surveyed
50
percentage of parcels that are informally occupied without legal title
0

2.7 Number of active professional land surveyors

0

2.8 Proportion of time that active professional land surveyors commit for cadastral matters (%)

0
--- Approx. full-time equivalent of land surveyors committed to cadastral matters
0

2.9 Number of active lawyers/solicitors

128,000

2.10 Proportion of time that active lawyers/solicitors commit for cadastral matters (%)

0
--- Approx. full-time equivalent of active lawyers/solicitors committed to cadastral matters
0