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MatC
146002.  Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote

Who owns your garden?

The Queen does.

I rather like this, if it can be stood up, because it re-bunks a myth. Every schoolboy kno that the whole of Britain is owned by the monarch, and every adult knows it isn't so. Now here’s someone saying it is, after all. And then some.

Legally, the owner of all land in Britain - “as well as in Canada, Australia and other ex-colonies” - is HMQ.

“Landowners” only have freehold tenure, according to a review of a new book “Who Owns The World?” by Kevin Cahill, who has “spent years researching land ownership relations and this volume is the cumulative result of his meticulous and painstaking work.”

The present Land Registry for England and Wales was established in 1925, and only records land transfers since that date; thus, it only contains details of around 50% of land tenure. Most countries have no land registry at all.

“Of Britain’s 420,000 millionaires, all have at least 40% of their wealth in land.”

In 1872, parliament ordered a complete survey of land ownership in Britain, which found that 4.9% of the population owned 99% of the country. No full survey has ever been done since.

Source: Morning Star, 27 Nov 06.

 
MatC
146079.  Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:16 pm Reply with quote

Ah-ha - here's the man himself. Kevin Cahill, writing in the Morning Star, 8 Nov 06:


“The first ever government admission in modern times of the queen’s unique ownership of all UK land came only five years ago, when the preamble to the Land Registration Act 2001 noted that there was only one legal landowner in the UK, the queen. It also stated that all other forms of land ownership, especially freehold, were actually tenure derived from mediaeval law. In effect, all the people getting onto the property ladder or already on it are actually regressing in time and becoming feudal serfs in law.”

The fact that the monarch owns all UK land was enshrined in the 1925 Land Act. “By an extraordinary curiosity, the Act was never debated in either chamber of parliament and so no official public announcement was ever made.”

The queen also owns 16 other countries entirely, plus the 16 UK territories.

“The legal UK is over 486 million acres in size. By way of comparison, Germany is 88 million.”

The queen owns one sixth of the planet’s land acres.

“The most aggressive imperial power on Earth, if you count acreage, is Australia. It has added something like 3,000 million acres of maritime ocean in the last 30 years” much of it under the guise of conservation. “Australia's claims have been accepted in international law.” Since HM owns all of Australia, she owns all that lot, too.

The queen’s legal ownership of the land dates from 1066, when William the Bastard claimed all of England as his property, reimposing “the Roman principle that the emperor owned all the land and others merely held it from him.”

The queen’s claim is unique in the modern world, since it extends beyond her homelands.

There are 25 feudal monarchs who still claim to own their countries, legally. There are nine kings (including those of Japan, Norway and Spain) who make no claim to own the land.

The legal basis of Mugabe’s land seizures in Zimbabwe is that, on independence, the queen transferred her ownership of the land to the president, who holds it in trust for the people. Thus, legally, all land in state-owned.

In Australia and Canada the queen’s ownership of all the land “has created huge bureaucracies, patronage and opportunities for corruption.”

 
dr.bob
146331.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:24 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Ah-ha - here's the man himself. Kevin Cahill, writing in the Morning Star, 8 Nov 06:


I'm beginning to suspect that a Morning Star journalist might not be the most unbiased observer when discussing things relating to monarchy :)

Quote:
“The first ever government admission in modern times of the queen’s unique ownership of all UK land came only five years ago, when the preamble to the Land Registration Act 2001 noted that there was only one legal landowner in the UK, the queen.


Firstly, there is no "Land Registration Act 2001". The new Land Registration Act was drawn up in 2002, and you can access the text of it here:

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2002/20020009.htm

(That's a great website, by the way, with lists of all acts brought in arranged by the year they were drawn up dating back to 1972)

Now, I haven't read the Land Registration Act 2002 cover-to-cover, but I have read through the Preliminary (I wonder if this is the "preamble" that Cahill refers to) and it makes no mention of the Queen. I've flicked through a few sections, but I can see no obvious mention of the Crown owning everything by default.

Quote:
The fact that the monarch owns all UK land was enshrined in the 1925 Land Act.


That seems irrelevant today. According to http://www.propertylawuk.net/propertytransactionsregistration.html :

Quote:
The Land Registration Act 2002 and the new Land Registration Rules 2003 were brought into force on 13 October 2003. The Act replaced in its entirety the Land Registration Act 1925.


So the 1925 act no longer holds any meaning in the modern world.

I'm not sure about the other claims about the Queen owning 16 whole countries but I think, given the rather dubious nature of Cahill's claims so far, they should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

 
MatC
146337.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:58 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

I'm beginning to suspect that a Morning Star journalist might not be the most unbiased observer when discussing things relating to monarchy :)
.


Well, that says more about you than it does about them.

Here’s Cahill:

“Kevin Cahill is a former army officer who has worked at both Westminster and European parliaments as an advisor and researcher. He is the author of books on business, trade and politics and helped produce the Sunday Times Rich List, as well as being a widely published investigative journalist.”
- www.canongate.net/KevinCahill

“Born: Rathdowney Co Laois, Irish Republic in October 1944.
Educated Rockwell College, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the University of Ulster - BA Hons Eng Lit.
Full professional member of the British Computer Society; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; Member of the Canadian, American, Australian and New Zealand Geographical societies; former Fellow of the Institute of Petroleum; and an Associate Member of the British Institute of Management.
Infantry lieutenant in Aden Bahrain Northern Ireland 1965-1968, then Systems Analyst with Farrington Data Rank Xerox Glaxo Gulf Oil, and Singer & Friedlander; Systems project manager at ICL.
1969 –1979 - fulltime journalist
From 1979 – first as Finance and international Editor of Computer Weekly then deputy editor of Computer News; London Editor of Nikkei Computer; London Correspondent for Asia Computer Monthly; hon member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Tokyo.
Freelance from 1986 to 1989 when joined the Sunday Times to do the Rich list and Insight Team.
Subsequently freelanced for the Observer, Mail on Sunday, Express Eurobusiness, Wealth & diary Editor at BusinessAge.
From 1995, Bureau Chief Global Western News; Sole author editor of 250 Richest Women in Britain, 500 Richest people on the Stock Exchange, BusinessAge 1992-1993 Richest 500 Britons, BusinessAge 1995 Richest 400 Europeans, Eurobusiness 2000; Richest 200 Women in the World, Eurobusiness 2001.
1984-1988-89 part time Research Assistant to Paddy Ashdown in House of Commons, later same for the Chairman of the Parliamentary All Party Human Rights Committee in the House of Lords.
Advisor to Hon Richard Burke former EC Vice President and to various members of the European Parliament.
Also worked with Gordon Brown on taxation 1991 and with late Robin Cook on the Arms for Iraq Scott Inquiry in Feb 1996.
Secretary London Freelance Branch of the NUJ in the mid nineties.
Author of The Principles of Business Systems, BIM Portsmouth 1970; Trade Wars, WH Allen 1986, paperback 1987. Documentary Uncle Sams Law based on book, Thames TV 1988; and Technology Wars for C4 1989, sold to 14 countries; The Sunday Times Book of the Rich, 1990 as researcher; Who Owns Britain, Canongate 2001; Who Owns the World Mainstream/Random House Nov 2006.
Various submissions to Parliamentary Select Committees on high tech and on arms for Iraq and Iran.
Dado, an Irish ballad operetta in Gaelic, won three major drama awards in Ireland 1975 and opened national Gaelic drama festival 1975.
Winner of the Irish Times debating award (Irish Observer Mace) 1975 Represented Ireland at the Edmund Burke international debate in Glasgow 1975.
Opera Russia produced as work in progress at the Novosti TV theatre Moscow 1988-89.
Started career in writing as the Cadet sub editor of Wishstream the journal of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. 1964.”
- http://www.rsa.org.uk/events/speakerCloseUp.asp?speakerID=275

See also: www.newstatesman.com/200409200005
www.whoownstheworld.com
www.caledonia.org.uk/land/cahill.htm
www.caledonia.org.uk/land/cahill2.htm

 
MatC
146339.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:01 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Firstly, there is no "Land Registration Act 2001". .


The British government disagrees with you:
“Short title
1 This Act may be cited as the Land Registration Act. 2001, c. 6, s. 1. “
- http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/statutes/landreg.htm

 
MatC
146348.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:23 am Reply with quote

According to Bob’s logic, we can’t expect the right-wing Prospect magazine to be unbiased on such a matter, but they do argue that Cahill is correct but irrelevant:
www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=8150

Tantalisingly, only the opening of their review is available free; I felt they were about miss a point about allodial ownership (for our purposes, anyway) , but they were cut off before I could be sure!

 
dr.bob
146407.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:30 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Well, that says more about you than it does about them.


Yeah, you're probably right there. Certainly Mr Cahill does have a very impressive CV. However, pretty much everyone, no matter how well qualified, will be biased in some way.

MatC wrote:
The British government disagrees with you:
“Short title
1 This Act may be cited as the Land Registration Act. 2001, c. 6, s. 1. “
- http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/statutes/landreg.htm


Oops! Check your URL there, dude. The .ca domain is Canadia. If you read that act a bit further down, section 3b says:

Quote:
"court" means the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia


Check out the link I posted to the UK Land Registry Act and, in section 136, part 1, it says:

Quote:
This Act may be cited as the Land Registration Act 2002


So I maintain that there is no "Land Registration Act 2001" here in the UK despite what Mr Cahill thinks.

MatC wrote:
According to Bob’s logic, we can’t expect the right-wing Prospect magazine to be unbiased on such a matter, but they do argue that Cahill is correct but irrelevant


Yep, as I said, everyone is biased in some way. However, they seem to be suggesting that Cahill is basing his arguments on very old laws that don't apply any more, which is pretty much how it seemed to me, though I'm not a lawyer so I can't say for sure.

I'm not saying it's wrong, simply that we should take Mr Cahill's thesis with a note of caution and see if any other experts have an opinion.

 
MatC
146434.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:15 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Oops! Check your URL there, dude. The .ca domain is Canadia.


Whoops, sorry!

The LRA 2001 is, however, referred to here and there. For instance:
www.ilexjournal.co.uk/special_features/article.asp?theid=1229&themode=1

... and there was a Bill of that name in 2001, which presumably wasn’t eventually enacted until 2002 (which doesn’t entirely explain the continuing “01” references to it).

Ah, wait a minute - I’ve just re-read what Cahill actually says: “The first ever government admission in modern times of the queen’s unique ownership of all UK land came only five years ago, when the preamble to the Land Registration Act 2001 noted that there was only one legal landowner in the UK, the queen.”

It’s clear from the Bill that the Act was intended to be the LRA 2001, and presumably became the LRA 02 because it was held up in committee stage - so quite possibly the relevant section of the preamble didn’t make the final Act.

But anyway, I’m not sure that alters things for our purposes; namely that (and so far I can’t find anyone denying this, though I’ll carry on looking) the queen, or the crown, or the state - doesn’t really matter which - technically owns the land that householders think they own. The fact that she doesn’t, at the moment, make us pay rent is neither here nor there, as the Zimbabwe experience demonstrates. And it is symbolic of the fact that we still have bizarre aspects of feudal government mixed in with bourgeois government.

I do think someone who has access to petty cash should get hold of a copy of this book, though.

 
dr.bob
146459.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:11 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Whoops, sorry!


Heh, that's the problem with 'tinterweb. When I was reading up about the original article, I thought I'd found the text of the 1925 Land Act, until I eventually realised it was an Australian law (d'oh!)

MatC wrote:
It’s clear from the Bill that the Act was intended to be the LRA 2001, and presumably became the LRA 02 because it was held up in committee stage


Fair enough. That makes sense.

MatC wrote:
so quite possibly the relevant section of the preamble didn’t make the final Act.


If that's true, then the relevant section of the preamble didn't become law and has no relevance to the discussion. If Cahill is basing his thesis on something that got thrown out in the committee stage, then it would be a pretty weak argument.

Certainly the "preliminary" section of the act makes no reference to the Crown at all.

MatC wrote:
But anyway, I’m not sure that alters things for our purposes


Certainly the name of the Act is unimportant, I was just indulging in mindless pedantry for the sake of it (who'd've thought!)

MatC wrote:
namely that the queen, or the crown, or the state - doesn’t really matter which - technically owns the land that householders think they own.


But do they really? I can't find any evidence of this after a quick perusal of the LRA 2002, although admittedly I'm not prepared to wade through the whole thing and I'm not even sure I'd understand it if I did.

It'd be nice if Cahill actually mentions chapter and verse of the relevant bits of the Act to back up his ideas.

 
MatC
146467.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:33 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
If that's true, then the relevant section of the preamble didn't become law and has no relevance to the discussion. If Cahill is basing his thesis on something that got thrown out in the committee stage, then it would be a pretty weak argument..


I'm not sure about that - he's saying, it seems to me, that the legal position has never changed, and that the preamble was the first time it had ever been publicly stated. Which would still be the case, whether or not it made the final draft.

 
dr.bob
146472.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote

That's true. However, if it didn't make it into the Act, then it's not binding law.

It's not true that, once something is enshrined in law, it continues to hold true forever more. As I understand it, the whole basis of our constitution is that old laws are repealed and replaced by new laws, at which time the old laws have no relevance.

Indeed, in section 122 (part 1) of the LRA 2002, it clearly says:

Quote:
The Land Registry Act 1862 (c. 53) shall cease to have effect.


I'm not sure where that leaves other acts, such as the 1925 one alluded to by Cahill, although I've already provided a link to a legal site that says this was also replaced by the 2002 act.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that, at some point in the past, the Crown officially owned all the land in the UK. However, based on what I've read so far of modern day laws, I'd be very surprised if this situation continued to this day.

Just mark me down as an agnostic on this issue until we can find some more competent legal brains than mine to pass judgement.

 
Flash
146579.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:44 pm Reply with quote

I have a rather splendid degree in Law and knew all about this topic in 1978. Not now, though. As far as this

Quote:
The present Land Registry for England and Wales was established in 1925, and only records land transfers since that date; thus, it only contains details of around 50% of land tenure.


goes, though, I think there's a more accurate nuance, which is that land registration only applies in some areas. In those areas all land is registered, and registration is the last word on the subject of who owns something. In the other areas, the old system applies; by 1978 the system was still being rolled out, in a very leisurely way even by the standards of the English legal system.

Since 1978, though, I have no idea.

 
eggshaped
147871.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:24 am Reply with quote

I've picked up Cahill's previous book "who owns britain" from the library this morning. It's a hefty tome, and I haven't got to the Queenie bit yet, but irrespective of the legal complexities of who ultimately 'owns' the land, do we know who is the largest landowner in Britain?

It's the forestry commission with 2,400,000 acres (2001 figures). I can't work out whether or not this is news to me or not. I don't think I'd have figured it out in a quiz, but at the same time I read it thinking "oh yeah, I think I remember reading that somewhere".

The MoD is second with 750,000 acres followed by The National Trust (550,000), The Pension Funds (500,000) and The Utilities (500,000).

Did anyone else already know all this?

 
Flash
147877.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:29 am Reply with quote

And 6th is Bunter and his string of offshore investment vehicles.

What about the Church? Also, saying "The Pension Funds" is a bit like saying "The Farmers" isn't it?

 
eggshaped
147879.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quote

Hey, calm down - I'm only up to page 21!

The CofE was no12 on his list, apparently they have lost a lot of land in recent years. The blurb on the back cover tantalisingly says:

Quote:
[This book] exposes [...] How the Church of England has 'mislaid' 1.5 million acres it owned 100 years ago


The church would be a good klaxon to "Who is the largest landowner" as would The Queen, unless Mat's initial post stands up.

 

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