If you’d like to assist people in important transactions relating to property law, read on for an introduction to the subject and guidance on how to enter the field.

What Is Property Law?

Property law governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property and personal property. It also provides the principles and rules by which disputes over property are to be resolved.

The value of land has always been relatively high and for that reason, the market for buying, selling and leasing property is unlikely to slow. This means that the field is one of the most stable legal practice areas.

Property law is taught as a compulsory part of the qualifying LLB, so all law students will gain some experience of it as part of their degree.

The main subjects taught within the module include:

  • transfer of land
  • ownership of land
  • disputes over land
  • tenancies
  • licences
  • easements
  • mortgages
  • adverse possession

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Important Acts

Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA)
This piece of legislation is the core of English land law and was intended to modernise the English law of real property. It highlighted the difference between leasehold and freehold property, regulated mortgages and leases and removed some ambiguity from the previous law of property.

Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989
This piece of law introduced some important reforms to property law regarding. For example, the form and delivery of a deed.

Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA)
This came into force in 1997 in order to reform the way that the LPA 1925 dealt with trusts. TOLATA redressed the difficulties with trusts by putting into place statutory considerations to be accounted for when dealing with dispositions of trusts particularly in the context of separation and ordering the sale of the family home.

Land Registration Act 2002
This piece of legislation repealed the prior 1925 Land Registration act. The act alongside the Land Registration Rules regulates the role and practice of Her Majesty’s Land Registry. The main purpose of the legislation was to simplify the process of land registration and make the register a more accurate picture of title to land by encouraging registration.

Commercial Property Law

Commercial property is property used for business purposes, but it can also refer to land which generates some sort of profit for the owner. A solicitor who works in commercial property takes care of all the legal aspects of buying or selling it.

This type of lawyer can act for both domestic and international clients including governments, landowners or developers. This means that within this type of law, you’re likely to have clients from a wide range of sectors. Some examples include hotel owners, agricultural landowners or even charities.

Commercial property law can also overlap with other legal practice areas like construction law, planning law and environmental law.

Personal Property Law

A lawyer who works in personal property law is someone who takes care of all the legal aspects of buying or selling personal or residential property.

In this field, it is possible to act for both the domestic and any international clients who wish to buy or sell a home in the UK or abroad depending on the reach of the firm.

Purchasing a home is one of the most important and expensive decisions that someone can make in their lifetime, so it’s important work.

How to Become a Property Lawyer

To become a property lawyer, you can take the following route:

  1. Complete a qualifying law degree or non-law degree followed by the Graduate Diploma in Law
  2. Complete the Legal Practice Course Training Contract (or the Solicitors Qualifying Exam post 2021)

During your training contract, it’s a good idea to do a property or real estate seat. The good news is that many law firms offer seats ranging from commercial property to residential and personal property as part of their training contracts.

Another option available to those interested in property law is a career as a licensed conveyancer. You can train to qualify in this field as soon as you leave school or college by undertaking a Level 4 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice followed by the Level 6 Diploma.

You must also complete a set amount of practical experience before you can then apply for your qualifying licence.

Property Law Salary

The average UK salary for property lawyers lies around £46,000 per year. However, a typical salary for property law can vary depending on which firm you work for, where you’re based in the UK and what level you are at. You’ll also find that property lawyers tend to make more money in London than other regions, and salaries tend to decrease the more north you move.

It is also important to note that the introduction of licensed conveyancers means that property lawyers are in lesser demand these days.

Property Law Firms

Some examples of property law firms in and out of London include the following:

  • DLA Piper
  • Clifford Chance
  • Boodle Hatfield LLP
  • Allen & Overy
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
  • Taylor Wessing LLP
  • Property Law Books

Relevant Books

If you want to do some further reading into the topic, check out some of the following property law books:

Modern Land LawMartin Dixon£29
Complete Land Law: Text, Cases and MaterialsBarbara Bogusz and Roger Sexton£29
Property Law (Longman Law Series)Roger Smith£35
Textbook on Land LawJudith-Anne and Aruna Nair£28
Land Law Concentrate: Law Revision and Study GuideVictoria Sayles£12


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