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News - 23/02/2013

Today is the Roman festival of “Terminalia”…..

….. which celebrates the Roman god Terminus, who was tasked with the protection of boundary markers. Where Roman estates adjoined they were marked with a boundary stones which usually included a statute of Terminus (pictured)

Each year on 23 February, Roman land owners would celebrate with neighbouring families garlanding their respective sides of the marker and making offerings of crops, honeycomb and wine, which would “renew” the boundaries.

[pullquote_right]…Land Registry and Ordinance Survey plans are “worse than useless” in boundary disputes…[/pullquote_right]However, not all neighbourly relationships are as harmonious in the 21st century, and boundary disputes are unfortunately common. When a boundary dispute arises many owners will refer to the Land Registry or Ordinance Survey plans show where the boundary line is. But this is not correct.

Land Registry plans only show the “general boundary”. Section 60(2) of the Land Registration Act 2002 expressly states “A general boundary does not determine the exact line of the boundary”. Ordinance Survey plans are similarly unhelpful, because they are drafted to show the physical features of the land, not the legal ownership. In any event, the Court of Appeal has repeatedly said that Land Registry and Ordinance Survey plans are “worse than useless” in boundary disputes.

In the next few posts I will outline the two-stage approach that the Courts and Land Registry Adjudicator will take when resolving boundary disputes.


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