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Challenge and complexity: our role as Assistant Land Registrars

Chris Day, Charlotte Takeuchi, Hayley Parfitt and Tim Smithers.
Assistant Land Registrars: Chris, Charlotte, Hayley and Tim

Sixteen recently recruited Assistant Land Registrars have brought fresh skills, knowledge, and experience to our Local Lawyer Team. Chris, Charlotte, Hayley, and Tim tell us why they joined HM Land Registry and what they have found here.

Charlotte Takeuchi

I qualified as a solicitor in 2007 and worked at both Eversheds and TLT Solicitors. My specialism was commercial property, dealing with acquisitions, disposals, complex site assembly projects and large-scale investment purchases. I acted for a national historic network, an international hotel chain and one of the world’s largest construction and support services.

I joined HM Land Registry as I have always enjoyed the academic study of land law and was interested in the role of an Assistant Land Registrar because I thought it would provide a unique and challenging opportunity to combine the theory and practical application of land and registration law. I was attracted to the Civil Service as an employer because of its reputation for offering excellent training and career development opportunities and its commitment to staff development and diversity.

Since joining HM Land Registry I have undertaken a comprehensive and well-structured training programme. As an Assistant Land Registrar I am now working as part of a national team of lawyers providing legal and technical advice to the skilled staff of land registration professionals working in the various offices throughout the country. I am thoroughly enjoying the role and the opportunities it brings me.

Tim Smithers

I joined HM Land Registry after more than 30 years in private practice, 25 as a partner with Veale Wasbrough Vizards based in Bristol. I specialised in property development work, acting for developers, investors, local authorities, universities and energy companies.

When I saw new-builds I had worked on in the 1980s being redeveloped I decided it was time for a new challenge!  Having been a customer for many years I was attracted to HM Land Registry by the wide variety and complexity of issues on which the national legal team is called to advise and make decisions every day.

Reflecting on the first six months, what has most impressed me is:

  • the breadth and depth of experience of the casework teams who are the backbone of HM Land Registry and whose considered decisions protect the integrity of the register;
  • the wide spectrum of legal work and the expertise of the HM Land Registry lawyers to match;
  • the daily challenge for the management teams in processing the 20,000 registration applications that arrive every working day, meeting quality and performance standards and coping with spikes in demand such as the recent buy-to-let stamp duty land tax deadline; and
  • an open management style focused on innovation and improving customer service within challenging financial constraints.

I am very proud to be part of the HM Land Registry team.

Hayley Parfitt

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months here and the training programme has been extremely beneficial and well-organised. The work is varied and interesting and I am looking forward to building on my skills and becoming involved in future projects and possibly other roles within the Local Lawyer Group.

I qualified as a solicitor in September 2011 and worked in residential conveyancing at a medium-sized high street firm, Straw and Pearce in Loughborough. As I slowly tired of the daily M1 commute, I decided to move to Rothera Dowson, a local firm in Nottingham, in 2014 before joining HM Land Registry.

I became a solicitor because I enjoyed reading law and having to apply it to different situations. Working as a conveyancer I very rarely had to look at complex legal issues and my days mainly consisted of dealing with frustrated clients because they couldn’t have their preferred completion date or problems with removal vans! I wanted to get back into looking at the law and this role was my perfect opportunity.

Chris Day

I decided to apply for an Assistant Land Registrar role in HM Land Registry because it was the ideal opportunity to specialise in an interesting area of law. It also allowed me to remain actively interested in litigation, particularly in relation to indemnity and alteration to the register.

I qualified as a solicitor in 2014 but had spent a few years working as a paralegal and trainee solicitor after graduating in 2009. Before joining HM Land Registry I worked for LG Williams & Prichard, a firm based in Cardiff, running a varied caseload including both contentious and non-contentious work.

My training has been an excellent introduction to the technical aspects of the law relevant to land ownership and registration. Due to the complexity of the cases dealt with on a daily basis by the Assistant Land Registrars, we are required to have a level of expertise that is simply not required in the day-to-day work of a conveyancer in private practice. Beginning to develop my own expertise has been both challenging and rewarding, and I hope that it will continue to be so as my HM Land Registry career progresses.

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  1. Comment by simon kadwill posted on

    Fraud alerts by land registry are helpful but do they protect someone against a false fraudulent application for a name title change when there is no mortgage?

    • Replies to simon kadwill>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Simon - they service is aimed at helping to prevent property fraud by alerting the user to our receipt of a significant application against the property

    • Replies to simon kadwill>

      Comment by simon kadwill posted on

      thank you what do you mean by "significant application" for example does it includes change of service address and what is not significant please

      • Replies to simon kadwill>

        Comment by adamh posted on

        Simon - essentially any application which changes the register which includes a change of contact address.
        The reason we use the term 'significant' is because there will be times that on rare occasions we may need to make an internal application for a minor amendment in the register and we will not alert you to these e.g. the district changes

  2. Comment by adamh posted on

    Simon - I assume you are referring to one of the checks we carry out when dealing with certain applications. If so the check is one of a number often carried out by us and the other parties involved. Each application is treated on merit and processed accordingly.

  3. Comment by Ian posted on

    Kim - Please contact us - if you have not already done so giving the property details as we'll need to check what was issued and when and whether it can be re-sent to your legal representative.

    • Replies to Ian>

      Comment by Kim posted on

      Thankyou Ian, this has now been dealt with...I would like to give some positive feedback about the person who has dealt with my case but can only find how to complain but not compliment? How do I do this..Thanks

  4. Comment by Mrs I cole posted on

    Can you tell me please .I live in a terraced house . Not sure which is my boundry wall I own and to maintain .

    Cecil street . Manselton .Swansea.

    Can you help me as a fence as blown down , needs replacing .
    I need to know if it's my wall and if i have to pay for it myself or my neigbour.

    Thanks j cole

    • Replies to Mrs I cole>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Mrs Cole - have a read of the blog article, identify what information you have, including any registered details, and then share and discuss with your neighbour(s) as appropriate and agree a way forward

  5. Comment by john & cris sherrard posted on

    john & cris sherrard have not heard about our application sent to you last year . dn254312 mistake ect . all we have been told it has been sent to hmlr lawer team . how long do we have to wait for a reply . we have all proof ect . it is all tainted by fraud . please help as soon as pos many thanks john and cris .

  6. Comment by J. Carran posted on

    I have found myself involved in a land dispute which is very worrying and causing me some anxiety.My neighbour who moved in four years ago, has suddenly informed me that part of my garden belongs to her according to the land registry. This is not possible - I have lived in my property for 52 years and the garden now is as I purchased it in 1968. At an earlier time an occupier of her property placed a concrete fence right across my garden - which I took down. In 2020 my neighbour placed a shed on my garden, and was conveniently not around when I went to ask her to move it. So I arranged for the shed to be moved back on to her land. She was so incensed she applied to the court claiming part of my garden. I had already informed her I would be registering my land and that the Land Registry would resolve any disputes - so now I have had to call in a surveyor and hire a solicitor at an expense which I cannot afford. I do not need to take someone else's land after all these years - but I do need to protect that which is the land I bought.

  7. Comment by Ann posted on

    Ann m
    Hi how do I find out who did the determined boundary on my property and when it was done

  8. Comment by Ann posted on

    Adam- I would like to know who applied and re the documents/ form lodged what date and year. Have clicked help and sent my details in.