Land Law encompasses all disputes relating to titles to land and interests in land, such as mortgages, leases, caveats, easements and covenants.
Land is usually an asset of substantial value in relation to other assets of the parties affected, and a complex and variety of interests subsist in it, and so it is frequently the subject matter of civil and commercial disputes.
The Land Transfer Act 1952 is the cornerstone of Land Law in New Zealand. It is a consolidation of the successive land Acts since 1870, when the Torrens system of land title registration was first introduced to New Zealand. Under this system:
- all interests in land (subject to limited exceptions) are registered with the Land Information Office;
- registered titles and interests are indefeasible i.e. they are paramount and take precedence over unregistered interests, subject only to limited exceptions, such as fraud;
- the State guarantees title by providing compensation for loss that occurs through non-authentic registration or by errors in the operation of the registration system.
The majority of privately-owned land in New Zealand is subject to the Land Transfer Act, and to a number of other Acts, which affect rights, obligations and powers relating to land. They include: Property Law Act 2007; Local Government Act 2002; Companies Act 1993; Property (Relationships) Act 1976; Crown Minerals Act 1991; Unit Titles Act 2010; Overseas Investment Act 2005; Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009; Terrorism Suppression Act 2002; and the Resource Management Act 1991.
Bankside Chamber’s Experience
Bankside Chamber’s members have extensive and broad-ranging experience in Land Law. They are regularly involved as counsel, mediators or arbitrators in high value disputes and precedent-setting cases.