Wednesday, 4 April 2012

D is for Doctrine of Notice.

This is a topic involved with Land Law which I need to look up a little more for my revision, however what I post today will be largely based on internet research as I find myself without my trusted Land Law bible (A.K.A. my textbook). So please excuse anything that you believe to be wrong (or point it out so I might learn from it after looking it up).

There are currently two systems of land conveyancing in England and Wales: Registered and Unregistered. The doctrine of notice does not apply to registered land.

The doctrine of notice applies to equitable interests made before 1925, and is a method of protecting third party interests in land.

The doctrine stems from the concept of 'Equity's Darling' (mentioned in my 'B' post).  If a purchaser did not know about an equitable interest having made full inquiries and investigations, and so did not have actual, constructive or imputed knowledge of the interest, he/she was known as a 'bona fide purchaser for value without notice' (I will break this down into simpler terms momentarily), and could therefore acquire the legal title of the property free of the equitable interests (one example being a holder of an easement, for example having a right to light over their own property or access to their own home).

Bona fide purchaser for value without notice:

  • Bona fide purchaser - the purchaser must act in good faith. 

E.g, in the past, purchasers have been known to purposely turn a blind eye to the investigations, claiming that they did not know of the other interests, so that they might gain the property without being subject to equitable interests of third parties. If you fail to inspect the property thoroughly enough, the court will hold that you have constructive notice of those interests - so, you would be deemed to have notice of all interests, charges and easements that you would have known about had you made a reasonably thorough inspection.

  • For value - the purchaser must have given some consideration for the land - they would not be a purchaser for value if the land was left to them in a will, or as a gift, or through adverse possession.
  • Without notice - the purchaser must not know of the equitable right actually or constructively. 
Most interests are now protected by entry on a register, meaning the purchaser is deemed to have knowledge of them & they are therefore binding upon him/her. As a result, this doctrine applies only to a few interests. 

Acts such as the Land Charges Act 1972 and the Land Registration Act 2002 produce a more coherent system of land registration as they record all of the various land charges, interests and other rights held over each piece of land. 

That, without my bible, is about all I can say about this topic! :)


  1. I'm always impressed when lawyers talk about law. It makes sense when they explain it, but then later, I have to think "ok, now what did they say?"
    Thanks for the following.

  2. And thanks for following me.
    Does it make sense to you then? As I type it, it barely makes sense to me, I have to try to make sure its right and it's hard for me to know whether people who don't know much about the law actually understand what I'm writing. But I shall try nonetheless.

  3. I don't know if I'd be the best person to ask, but for a lay person it is a little difficult, but I just figured you're writing more from the professional perspective.

  4. Hi,first of all, thanks for this helpful post and my question is this,
    what if a person, bought a land which the previous owner leased a part of the garden to a neighbout for N years? how doctrine of notice works here? would it make a difference if it is a registered land? =)

  5. Hi, I'm also a law student and I was wondering what textbook you use?

  6. your topic is so fantastic. yet I have some tips for my tomorrow's exam

  7. Hello, Are you sure it only applies to equitable interests made before 1925? Could you give me a reference for that?

  8. This came at the right time. Have equity and trust exam today and trust me this is very helpful..big thumbs up

  9. Lol I have equity and trusts exam this week and this is really useful