Land: registration of manorial rights - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 29 December 2014 | Standard notes SN07072

Amended 02 February 2015

Authors: Elizabeth Blow, Sarah Heath, Alex Bate

Topic: Land law

This note provides information about manorial rights over land in England and Wales and recent changes that have affected the ability of individuals to exercise these rights. The note also provides links to guidance for affected property owners provided by the Land Registry.

Manorial rights are “overriding rights” which may affect a property even if they had not previously been protected in the register maintained by the Land Registry. Activities which may be provided for by manorial rights include rights to mine and extract minerals (with or without the consent of the current surface land owner), rights to hunt, shoot or fish.

Historically, landowners with significant holdings often retained ownership of any mines or minerals on the land even when it was sold on. In this case they would own the land beneath the surface (known as ‘mines and minerals’) while another party owned the surface land. Landowners may also have certain rights relating to the surface of the land, for example, fishing rights. Manorial rights were specifically preserved when most remnants of the manorial system were abolished in 1926.

Following the enactment of the 2002 Land Registration Act, which required manorial rights to be registered before 13 October 2013 if they were to be retained, more than 73,000 applications to enter a notice claiming manorial rights on properties in England and Wales have been made to the Land Registry.

In June 2014, the Justice Select Committee began an inquiry into manorial rights. This was in response to the large number of representations it received calling for the abolition of these rights. The Committee examined issues such as the recent incidence of manorial rights being exercised and the arguments for and against abolishing such rights. The Committee is expected to report in early 2015.

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