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Real Estate Encyclopedia | Property Law Dictionary | Real Estate Terms | Meanings & Definitions |      Dec 14, 2017

absolute title


1. A title to property that is good against any third party's claim and, therefore, cannot be defeated by any other claim. An unlimited right of ownership. In general, an absolute title is one that is as good as can be held, which may be considered as the title held by the owner of an unencumbered fee simple. In common law, there is no such right as an absolute title, or absolute ownership, as all rights to land are considered relative, so that "where questions of title to land arise in litigation the court is concerned only with the relative strength of the titles proved by the rival claimants. If party A can prove a better title than B he is entitled to succeed notwithstanding that C may have a better title than A, [provided] C is neither a party to the action nor a person by whose authority B is in possession or occupation of the land", Ocean Estates Ltd v Pinder [1969] 2 AC 19, 25 (PC). Cf. possessory title. See also absolute estate, doctrine of estates, good title, legal estate.


2.(Eng)In English law, an 'absolute title' (either a freehold or leasehold estate) is registered at the Land Registry (after appropriate investigation as to its validity) and is guaranteed by the state as valid against all comers. A person may be registered with absolute title "if the registrar is of the opinion that the person's title to the estate is such as a willing buyer could properly be advised by a competent professional adviser to accept", Land Registration Act 2002, ss. 9(2), 10(2); and, in the case of a leasehold title, "the registrar approves the lessor's title to grant the lease", LRA 2002, s. 10(2)(b). In either case, "the registrar may disregard the fact that a person's title appears to him to be open to objection if he is of the opinion that the defect will not cause the holding under the title to be disturbed", LRA 2002, ss. 9(3), 10(5). The first registered proprietor of an absolute freehold estate is granted a fee simple in possession, together with all rights, privileges or appurtenances thereto, but subject to: encumbrances or other entries appearing on the register; any interest that overrides the first registration, such as a legal easement or profits à prendre, customary rights and public rights, local land charges and coal-mining rights (unless the register expressly excludes such an interest); and any interest acquired under the Limitation Act 1980, as when person is in possession of land or when the first registered proprietor has notice of a claim by adverse possession. In the case of a leasehold interest, absolute title is subject to all the same rights or obligations as affect the freehold estate, as well as: all express and implied covenants, obligations and liabilities incident to the registered estate; any encumbrances or entries that are protected by an entry on the register; and all covenants and obligations of the lease (LRA 2002, s. 12). Cf. qualified title, possessory title. See also absolute leasehold, freehold absolute, land certificate, land registration.

Bibligraphical References for Absolute Title (English law):

M.P. Thompson. Barnsley's Conveyancing Law and Practice (4th ed., London: 1996), pp. 27–33.
Ruoff & Roper: Registered Conveyancing (London: Loose-leaf), §§ 5-02, 12-04, 12-06.


Absolute Title

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