Agency, Knowledge and Good Faith in Land Registration: Knightsbridge Property Development Corporation (UK) Limited v South Chelsea Properties Limited

26 Apr 2018

The decision of Newey LJ in the High Court in Knightsbridge Property Development Corp v South Chelsea Properties Ltd is notable by its very orthodoxy in respect of the way in which the principles of land registration are applied. The jurisprudence surrounding the Land Registration Act 2002, and in particular the provisions relating to rectification of title and indemnity, has been vexed (as has been very well documented ). In this respect, the clear, sensible and ‘statute-focussed’ approach taken by Newey LJ in this case is enormously welcome. It also casts some light on the scope of the Court of Appeal decision in NRAM v Evans, providing, in doing so, an easy to apply ‘schema’ which can be taken forward by future courts in resolving disputes of this type. However, the case itself raises the wider question of how the principles of agency and company law rules interact with land registration, and raises the uncomfortable point that whilst the state of mind of a transferee is almost always irrelevant to the ‘quality’ of the registration, that will not be the case in situations involving an agent overstepping their authority. This note will first consider the facts and decision in this case, before considering the wider implications for the relationship between agency and registration.