Inspection of Documents

Original version<a href='/vid/inspection-of-documents-907695894'>Inspection of Documents</a>
1. Scope of this Practice Direction

This Practice Direction deals with the inspection and provision of copies of documents filed in the Property Registration Authority on foot of registrations made, pursuant to Rule 159 of the Land Registration Rules, 2012 (LR Rules 2012).

2. Notes for Settling Officers 2.1. Requesting documents

While an application is pending, care should be taken when requesting further documentation to only request documentation that is relevant and necessary for registration.

2.2. Retention of documents

Only documentation required for the registration applied for should be retained. Any documentation that is not necessary (e.g. Family Home or Civil Partnership declarations, and Section 72 of the Registration of Title Act 1964 as amended [1964 Act] declarations) must be returned on completion of the application.

3. Procedure on application 3.1. Meaning of “Document”

There is no statutory definition of “document” in the 1964 Act. For the current purposes of this Practice Direction, a document is to be considered as anything in which information is recorded. This would include anything on an instrument, including deeds, affidavits (and exhibits), correspondence and internal memoranda and notes.

3.2. Meaning of “Instrument”

Likewise, there is no statutory definition of Instrument in the 1964 Act. The generally understood meaning of “instrument” is a formally executed written document that records and formally expresses a legally enforceable act, for example a deed of conveyance or charge or an assent on transmission, or indeed a contract or will.

In the PRA the term “Instrument” also has the technical meaning as the bundle of documents lodged for registration. This will include Form 17, any correspondence and any deeds or documents lodged to support the application for registration. In this practice direction “Instrument” with a capital “I” refers to this bundle of documents.

Rule 159 of the LR Rules 2012 mainly refers to “documents”, with the exception of Rules 159(3) to 159(5) which specify the actual document which may be inspected, and Rules 159(6) and 159(7) which refer to “instruments”. In the context of Rules 159(6) and 159(7), the generally understood meaning of the term “instrument” should be applied, being only the relevant deed, and not the entire bundle of documents.

3.3. Pending Applications

Pending applications are not subject to Rule 159 of the LR Rules 2012 and applications to inspect or copy should not be accepted. Pending dealings are subject to data access requests and may be inspected upon receipt of a valid data access request as set out in the PRA’s Data Protection Policy.

3.4. Right to take copies

Pursuant to Rule 159(8) of the LR Rules 2012, if a person is entitled to view a document, that person is entitled to a copy of it.

3.5. Inspection under supervision

Where an applicant who is entitled to inspect a document wishes to inspect rather than obtain a copy, an officer of the PRA must remain present with the person at all times during the inspection. Where redaction is necessary, it should be done prior to the inspection.

3.6. Third party information/redaction

Having regard to the requirements under the Data Protection Acts, and GDPR personal information relating to third parties should be removed from the document being viewed/copied, and a redacted copy provided. The redaction should take place in line with best practice. Care should be taken that the redaction cannot be bypassed. Note that where the consideration is to be redacted, care should be taken to ensure that the consideration be redacted from the Form 17 of the LR Rules 2012 too, if it is stated on the Form 17.

Under no circumstances, other than to the person who lodged the information, or under an Order of the Court, should a copy of information provided for identification purposes be issued, or be permitted to be inspected (e.g. in the case of personal applications). Where personal information is included, for example utility bills lodged as proof of occupation in respect of an application under Section 49 of the 1964 Act, these documents should not issue except to the party who lodged them, the third party about whom information has been lodged (in the case of information about third parties), or under Order of the Court.

4. Family Law and Civil Partnership documentation

Care should be taken that documentation relating to Family Law and Civil Partnership issues does not issue to parties who are not entitled to such documentation. This includes Family Home or Civil Partnership declarations and copies of Orders made pursuant to Family Law or Civil Partnership proceedings. As a matter of course, Family Law or Civil Partnership documentation is not to issue except in the case of the specific circumstances set out below, and even then, only on specific request.

  1. Parties to the declaration may inspect or obtain a copy.
  2. As a deed may be voidable within 6 years pursuant to the provisions of Section 54(1)(b) of the Family Law Act 1995 or Section 28(12) of the Civil Partnership and certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, the current registered owner may inspect or obtain a copy of any Family Home or Civil Partnership declaration that is made in support of a deed that is less than 6 years vintage but only on specific request.

Applications other than as above should be referred to the Divisional Manager for consideration on a case-by-case basis

5. Applications based on Entitlement (Rule 159 LR Rule 2012) 5.1. Registered Owner/Consent of Registered Owner (Rule 159(1))

The registered owner of a folio may inspect any instrument or document related to his/her title or any Instrument entered on his/her folio subject to certain limitations;

  1. The documentation should relate to the title of the registered owner. With transfers of part, for example, where part of the folio has been transferred to a third party, the registered owner may only inspect the transfer of the property to the third party, and not any subsequent documents (e.g. charge by the new owner etc), other than documents creating rights in favour of or against the applicants folio.
  2. Family Law and Civil Partnership documents should be dealt with in accordance with Section 4 above.
5.2. Person entitled if the land was unregistered (Rule 159(2))

Rule 159(2) of the LR Rules 2012 provides that any person who would be entitled to inspection...

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