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16 April 2020

Practice Note update from Land Registry

The Society has received the following revised Practice Note from Land Registry:


Over the last number of days, myself and a small team of Land Registry staff volunteers have worked continuously to log the outstanding post on to the Registry of Deeds and Statutory Charges registers.  I am pleased to say that all applications received by post prior to closure have now been registered.

Accordingly, paragraph 3 of the Emergency Note to Practitioners of 30th March 2020 (as revised on 6th April) is hereby varied as follows:-

“Applications are neither being processed nor receipted and reliance can be placed upon the Land Registry, Statutory Charges Register and the Registry of Deeds and searches up to and including close of business on 24th March 2020.  Reliance can be placed upon the Ground Rents register up to and including 16th March 2020.

In all other regards the original Emergency Note to Practitioners of 30th March 2020 stands.

In addition, staff were also able to top up a number of solicitors’ suspense accounts and those firms have been advised by email accordingly.  Land Registry managers have also been engaged with our IT supplier in the development of a solution to enable suspense accounts to be topped up without the intervention of staff.  A prototype is currently being tested remotely by staff and it is hoped that this will be made available to a small number of firms over the next number of days for piloting.  If successful, our IT supplier intends to migrate this solution to solicitors firms in small batches in due course.  Further information in relation to this will follow.

The Law Society in the 2020/13 publication of the Conveyancing and Covid-19 update has indicated that it is pressing for the Land Registers to return to full functionality.  A full service would require the majority of our staff to return to the workplace and interact at close proximity.  As I am not willing to place the health and safety of our staff, others and, in particular, NHS workers at risk, practitioners should note that it is unlikely that Land Registry will re-open in the short term.  Arrangements are being drawn up for the phasing in of reduced working for key services, but it is not likely that these will come in to operation until after the peak of the pandemic passes.  Details will follow in due course.

In the meantime, engagement with UK Finance and the lending institutions continues and it appears that a number of lenders are satisfied with the arrangements that Land Registry has put in place.

 At this stage I would like to thank the team of volunteers who worked with me on site over the last several weeks to update the registers.  In addition, the Deputy Registrar, the legal team and a group of managers have worked long hours to answer queries from practitioners, financial institutions and members of the public for which I am thankful.  Our IT supplier has also provided an exceptional and prompt service during this period and, in particular, has engaged with solicitors to provide training sessions on user functionality which is over and above their current role.  Again, I appreciate their assistance and efforts.

I hope to revert to practitioners with an update shortly.  In the interim I wish everyone well over the Easter period.


Registrar of Titles


Any issues arising should be sent to Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Non Contentious Business at:


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