Court’s inherent power to order cancellation of a Land Registry unilateral notice

Prior to the Land Registration Act 2002 the Court had the inherent power to order the cancellation of a caution registered at the Land Registry against a property to prevent dealings with that property.

In Nugent v Nugent [2013]  the High Court considered whether, following the Land Registration Act 2002, it still had the inherent power to order the cancellation of the unilateral notices introduced by that Act to protect alleged land interests,  and, if it did have the power, as to when and, in what manner, the power should be exercised.

In that case the claimant alleged that the respondent and her late husband had agreed to leave them their house in their Wills and lodged the unilateral notice at the Land Registry to prevent the respondent from selling or  mortgaging it except on terms that recognised the substantial interest the claimant was claiming.

The High Court followed the precedent set by the case of  Waghorn v Waghorn ( 2013),  where the High Court had ruled (1) that a claim protected by a unilateral notice was unarguable, and, (2) that the old pre 2003 jurisdiction, which had existed, to order the removal of cautions, still existed to allow the court to order the removal of unilateral notices under the 2002 Act. So in Waghorn’s case the HIgh Court had made an order requiring the Land Registry to remove the unilateral notice.

Waghorn’s case was distinguishable from this as the Respondent had an arguable interest to protect.

Whether interests are arguable or unarguable, the precise basis for the court’s claimed jurisdiction is unclear and there is a strong possibility it will be tested in the Court of Appeal in this or a future similar case.

As usual the above is mentioned out of general interest and what is said on this Blog does not replace the need to get proper legal advice in individual cases.