Property Law

United Kingdom Property Law

May 1, 2017

Most students who have taken a course in modern political science would appreciate that the United Kingdom is unlike most other nation-states because it itself made of three countries, commonly referred as sub-national administrative entities. Since each of these sub-national entities viz. – Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland has its own Parliament; they have drafted property laws that apply within the boundaries of their jurisdiction.

There are commonalities between the property laws of Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. For example all three jurisdictions follow the Common Law System, however the commonalities are trumped by the differences between the laws of England and Scotland specifically.

Scottish property laws have been derived from the Feudal Legal System of middle ages, in sharp contrast to English and Welsh that have been derived from Roman Legal System. Northern Irish have more in common with English property laws, than they have with Scottish.

The Queen is still the head of state of United Kingdom. However, her office is merely ceremonial. The decline in powers of the monarch’s office over the past two centuries ensured that important changes were made to the title of property in the United Kingdom. Now, the Queen is not considered the owner of all properties in the United Kingdom. Instead, the citizens of United Kingdom can hold the title of properties in their individual capacities. This may appear a banal change for young readers; however students of history will appreciate the major departure it meant from centuries-old property laws.

As per the UK legal system, property is typically classified as either real property or individual property under the aegis of Common Law System. Countries that follow the Civil Law System typically make the distinction between movable and immovable property. In the United Kingdom, a person or legal entity can have absolute ownership of an individual property. However, a person or legal entity cannot have claim absolute ownership of a real property. Owner of an individual property cannot lease his property, and therefore cannot charge rent. A person owning a real property can shift the ownership to another person or legal entity by signing a legally binding deed document. However, there is no need for an elaborate deed to be signed for transferring the ownership rights of an individual property. Only civil lawyers can represent appellants in property lawsuits. There are special civil courts that preside upon matters pertaining to property laws.

 

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