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Charles Harpum

Called 1976

Charles Harpum

All aspects of land law and conveyancing law, and landlord and tenant law. Particular expertise in relation to land registration, conveyancing matters, rivers and the seabed.

  • Education
    • Downing College, Cambridge.
    • B.A. (1975) (Starred double first class honours).
    • LL.B. (1977) (Starred first class honours, Chancellors Medal for English Law).
    • M.A. (1979).
    • LLD (2003) Cambridge.
  • Professional
    • Called, 1976 (Hardwicke and Cassel Scholarships, Buchanan Prize).
    • Bencher of Lincoln's Inn, 2001.
    • Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, 1977-2001; Emeritus Fellow, 2001-
    • Lawyer member of the Cambs, Chilterns & Thames Rent Assessment Committee 1987-1997.
    • Law Commissioner for England and Wales (Head of Property and Trust Law Team) 1994-2001.
    • As Law Commissioner responsible for the work that led to the Land Registration Act 1997, the Trustee Act 2000 and the Land Registration Bill presently before Parliament. Involved in the preparation for, and the passage through Parliament of, the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995, and also undertook work on perpetuities and accumulations and leasehold repairs.
    • Acted as consultant to HM Land Registry during the passage of the Land Registration Bill through Parliament.
    • Assisted the Ministry of Justice with the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009.
  • Recent Cases
    • Lynn Shellfish Limited v Loose [2016] UKSC 14 (Supreme Court; several fishery, sandbanks and accretion)
    • Page v Convoy Investments Limited [2015] EWCA Civ 1061 (Court of Appeal, boundaries and rights of way)
    • Bank of Scotland Plc v Joseph [2014] 1 P & CR p 302 (Court of Appeal, registered land, charges and liens)
    • Port of London Authority v Tower Bridge Yacht & Boat Co Ltd [2013] EWHC 3084 (Ch) (ancient moorings in the Thames)
    • Rosebery Ltd v Rocklee Ltd [2011] L & TR 21 (extent of upward demise of top floor flat)
    • Hermann v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea [2010] EWHC 1706 (Ch) (whether there was a statutory right to use a garden in a London square)
    • Port of London Authority v Ashmore [2010] EWCA Civ 30 (Court of Appeal, adverse possession of tidal river bed)
    • Roberts v Swangrove Estates Limited [2007] 2 P & CR 326 (adverse possession of bed of tidal river)
    • Kent v Kavanagh [2007] Ch 1 (Court of Appeal, easements)
    • Eurodis Electron plc v Unicomp Inc [2004] EWHC 979 (Ch) (guarantees)
    • Castlegroom Ltd v Enoch [2003] 2 EGLR 54 (leasehold enfranchisement)
    • Orchard Trading Estate Management Ltd v Johnson Security Ltd [2002] 2 EGLR 1 (Court of Appeal, estate rentcharges)
  • Publications
    • "Registered Land - Law and Practice under the Land Registration Act 2002" -Charles Harpum and Janet Bignell (2004) (Jordans).
    • "Registered Land The New Law: A Guide to the Land Registration Act 2002" - Charles Harpum and Janet Bignell.
    • Megarry & Wade's Law of Real Property (7th edition, 2008).
    • Numerous articles on land law, conveyancing and trust law, several of which have been cited judicially.
“Receives plaudits for his extensive knowledge of property law and his ability to handle complex matters. His areas of focus include conveyancing law, land registration, and landlord and tenant law. Strengths: ‘Frankly he’s absolutely magnificent, he’s quite simply faultless. It's a pleasure to give him something hugely complex.’ Recent work: Has recently acted on a number of cases related to fishing rights, including a very complex case about the title to fishing rights in Derbyshire.” Chambers UK Guide 2017 (Real Estate Litigation)
"He’s a walking database on property law, providing thorough knowledge of his subject and a practical approach."Legal 500, 2016
A decision of the Court of Appeal in Baxter v Mannion [2011] 1 WLR 1594. Jacobs LJ giving the judgment explained first: “5 It should be noticed that both the consultative document and the final report were the responsibility of Mr Charles Harpum, who was a Law Commissioner for England and Wales from 1994 to 2001, head of the Property and Trust Law team at the commission and a consultant to HM Land Registry during the passage of the Act through Parliament.” He then went on to say: “35 Finally, although we were referred to other passages of Ruoff & Roper, Registered Conveyancing and to passages of Megarry & Wade, The Law of Real Property , 7th ed (2008) whose editors include Mr Harpum, none of the passages was directly in point- no bull's eye for either side. But one passage in Registered Land (2004) co-authored by Mr Harpum is- to use a mixed metaphor- squarely in point. It is a footnote to para 30.1 and says: "If an applicant was registered under the scheme provided by the Land Registration Act 2002 and it then transpired that he had not in fact been in adverse possession for ten years, his registration would be a mistake, and there would, therefore, be grounds for an application for rectification of the register: see Land Registration Act 2002, Schedule 4, paragraphs 2(1)(a), 5(a)." So the opinion of the architect of the Act is dead against Ms Galley's contentions. That clearly has considerable weight in view of Mr Harpum's deep connection with the Act and its drafting. 36 Accordingly I unhesitatingly reject the main point on this appeal.” The reference was to Harpum and Bignell on Registered Land.
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