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Solicitors application of the Data Protection Act on Property Title Deeds  by Ford Banks Irwin Solicitors - The Property Lawyers in Manchester

Please note: Not to be used or relied upon without legal advice. These notes are for illustrative purposes ONLY

Property Title Deeds and the Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998, following EU Council Directive 95/46EC, replaced the Data Protection Act 1984.  The earlier Act only allowed access to computerised records, but the scope of the new act is considerably wider.

The Data Protection Act 1998 does apply to the Land Registry although it does not apply to the majority of the data held by the Land Registry to carry out its statutory duties. The reason for this is because that information is already publicly available under other Land Registry based legislation.  In general, this means that inspection of information held on the public registers of title is governed not by the Data Protection Act 1998, but by the Land Registration Act 2002.

Data Protection Principles:
The Data Protection Act 1998 section 4 sets out eight principles that data controllers including the Land Registry, must meet.  Any data used must be:
*fairly and lawfully processed;
*processed for limited purposes;
*adequate, relevant and not excessive;
*accurate (the information the Land Registry have to provide under legislation is exempt from this principle)
*kept no longer than is necessary;
*processed in accordance with the data subject's rights;
*secure. This means that the system must be secure against unauthorised access; and must include measures to protect the data against loss of integrity
*transferred only to those countries with adequate protection relating to the domestic data protection legislation of those countries

The Information Commissioner publishes further guidance on the application of these principles.

Making requests for Information:
If your request does not relate to information contained on the register of title you will need to send to the Land Registry the following:
*a request in writing for information held about yourself;
*enough details for the Land Registry to locate the data they might hold about you. For example, if you are a former staff member you would need to give details of when and where you worked for Land Registry;
*evidence of your identity (or if appropriate, evidence of your power to act on the data subject's behalf
*a fee of 10

What happens next?
Once you have supplied all the information outlines above, the Land Registry will deal with your request as quickly as possible. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires the Land Registry to deal with your request within 40 days.  This is known as the 40 day rule.  The Land Registry will include the following information:
*details of the personal data held about you;
*the purpose for which it is being used;
*those to whom the data may be disclosed.
The information you request may contain details about other living people.  If it does, the Land Registry may have to get their consent to divulge the information to exclude those personal details.  In this case, the 40 day rule may be extended.

Where the Data Protection Act 1998 does not apply to the Land Registry:
Much of the information Land Registry holds is exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.  This is because it falls within exception contained in section 34 of the Data Protection Act.  This exempts information that has to be made publicly available under other legislation. This means you must use the procedure set out in the Land Registration legislation rather than the Data Protection legislation to make your enquiry.

This Information includes:
*the Land Register (Section 66 Land Registration Act 2002)
*information contained in applications to Land Registry (Section 66 Land Registration Act 2002)
*search of the Index of Proprietors Names (rule 11 Land Registration Rules 2003)
*cautions against first registration (section 66 Land Registration Act 2002)
*the Land Charges Register (section 9, Land Charges Act 1972).

 (All italics in this page are Crown Copyright and reproduced here for your information with permission from HM Land Registry)

For any further information please contact Ford Banks Irwin Solicitors.


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