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The focus of land law is the use and supply of land. Land law impacts on many aspects of our day-to-day living. For example, land law determines who owns the land, how it may be used, and how others might gain access to the land. Beyond owing an interest in the land, there can also be less obvious third-party interests, for instance: covenants, easements, minor and overriding interests. In respect of any one property, these different interests can co-exist and interact.

Land law can be a difficult subject, often statutory provisions overlay ancient principles of common law and uses. The fact that land law has its own, rather archaic, vocabulary does not help.

This Commons briefing paper gives an overview of some commonly raised issues about land law, including:

  • how to trace ownership of registered and unregistered land;
  • how to resolve boundary disputes;
  • how to enforce or discharge a restrictive covenant on freehold land; and
  • private rights of way.

This paper also signposts to sources of further information and relevant case law. However, it is not designed to give legal advice or to provide the answer to the specific circumstances of disputes, or potential disputes.

Anyone with a specific question about an issue related to matters covered by this paper will need to consider seeking legal advice from a suitably qualified professional.  Another Library briefing paper might help, Legal help: where to go and how to pay (Number 03207, 1 August 2019).

This paper covers land law with respect to England and Wales; Scotland has its own land law. Scotland and Northern Ireland also have their own land registries.

Documents to download

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