Paragraph 2(1)(a) of Schedule 4 to the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002) empowers the court to make an order to alter the register for the purpose of correcting a mistake.
In this case, Mr Taylor obtained a court vesting order that he be registered as proprietor of this property using forged documentation. The Land Registry subsequently gave effect to the order and registered Mr Taylor as the proprietor of the property. He then took out a mortgage on the property and a charge was registered against the title in favour of Barclays Bank plc.
Mr Antoine sought a declaration that the forged documents were void and of no legal effect, as well as an order under paragraph 2(1)(a) that the register should be altered by deletion of the newly registered charge.
The Lender and the Chief Land Registrar accepted that the vesting order had been obtained on the basis of forged documents, but disputed the claim for alteration of the register by removal of the charge on the basis of a mistake.
The principal and unique issue for the court was whether it was a “mistake” within paragraph 2(1)(a) for the registrar to have entered Mr Taylor as proprietor pursuant to a court vesting order obtained by fraud, so that the court had the power to correct the register.
The court held that the vesting order:
- Effected a valid disposition of the registered title and there was, therefore, no mistake when Mr Taylor was registered as proprietor. Further, when the application had been made to the Registrar by reference to the order, it had not been for him to seek to explore the validity of the order. That would have been outside his statutory powers. At the time the entry had been made on the register, the order had been good on its face.
- Conferred title on Mr Taylor independently of the forged documents on which it was based. The contested documents had had no dispositive effect in themselves. The order had affected the disposition of title.
- Was akin to a voidable transaction and unless and until a further order was made setting it aside, the registrar was obliged to comply with it.
It followed that the registration of the Lender’s charge, at a time when the vesting order had been made and given effect and not yet been set aside, was therefore held not to be a mistake under paragraph 2(1)(a) of Schedule 4 to the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002).