This is the mechanism used by Local Authorities and Government Departments to acquire title to property from private owners. While the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order often precedes a statutory conveyance, it is not an essential pre-requisite, a fact which I believe is not commonly known. Provided compulsory powers are available to an acquiring Authority it does not matter whether a Compulsory Purchase Order has actually been made or not, as the effect of the statutory conveyance is the same. The Land Register staff do not need to check that full statutory procedures have been followed. They must however ensure that the enabling Act under which the acquisition is made does in fact contain compulsory powers.
What is the effect in practice of such an acquisition? The acquiring Authority obtains an unchallengeable title unencumbered by any existing fixed securities, title burdens or conditions. There is therefore no need for the Land Register to examine the historic prior titles. The only occasion on which the need to examine historic titles may arise would be in the case of a boundary discrepancy with another registered title, where looking at prior titles may help resolve such a discrepancy. The Land Register will always ensure, however, that the granter of any deed in a statutory conveyance (i.e. the current landowner) has completed their title by recording or registration in the Land Register.
One other peculiarity of such a conveyance is that the deed may not contain a Clause of Entry - i.e. a clause specifying the date of entry, being the date when the acquiring body gains the right to possess the property. If it does then that date will be inserted in the Title Sheet in the normal way but if not there will be no reference to any entry date in the Title Sheet. No entry date can be implied by legislation or otherwise if the statutory conveyance remains silent in this respect.
In my recent case, one point of dispute which I had with the Local Authority was over the question of warrandice - commonly referred to as title guarantee. My clients were not prepared to grant any warrandice, but the style of statutory conveyance used, following the relevant legislation, is silent as to warrandice. That is because different levels of warrandice are implied, depending on the type of transaction, and therefore if a different level of warrandice is to be given from the implied level, this must be specifically provided for in the conveyance. In the case of a conveyance for money, the implied level of warrandice would be the highest - i.e. absolute warrandice. We therefore included a specific exclusion to avoid any difficulty for my clients.
While statutory conveyance is perhaps not a mode of property acquisition seen every day, it is a beast which has its uses, albeit one with some unusual features worth spotting!