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Land Registration Act 2002

Section 79: Voluntary registration of demesne land

128.Uniquely, the Crown has dominion over all land as lord paramount. Demesne land is land in which no fee simple subsists and so belongs to the Crown absolutely. Examples of demesne lands of the Crown are most foreshore, land which has escheated to it, and its ancient lands which have never been granted in fee. In the absence of a fee simple, Her Majesty cannot register demesne land, since only estates in land are registrable. This means She is unable to get the benefits of registration, current and under the Act.

129.Section 79 enables Her Majesty, should She so wish, to register demesne land. She can do this by granting to Herself an estate in fee simple absolute in possession out of the demesne land. An application must then be made for registration of that estate within two months (or such extended period as the registrar may order) or the grant will be invalidated. This ensures that the power to grant a fee simple can only be employed to secure the registration of the title to the land and that a fee simple in the Crown’s own favour is not inadvertently created if, for some reason, the grant is made but no registration takes place.

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