Boundaries Glossary

Boundaries – Glossary


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Abstract of title

A traditional method of deducing title used in unregistered conveyancing. Although rarely used now in practice, an abstract will summarise all dealings with the property interest, beginning with the ‘root of title’. It will also mention whether documents have been stamped and executed, although it is up to the person investigating title to check that the stamping is sufficient and the execution appropriate.


In terms of boundaries and mapping, accuracy is a measure of how well the plan or map fits with reality (features on the ground). Generally the larger the scale, the better the accuracy. As a surveyor I am interested in 2 types of accuracy;

Absolute accuracy is a measure of how closely a point depicted on a map (British National Grid coordinates) fits with the coordinates of that point on the ground. Generally, absolute accuracy, is important over relatively long distances.

Relative accuracy is a measure of how well a map shows the relationship between features seen on the ground. For example, is the distance between the house and the wall, as shown on the map, correct? Generally, relative accuracy, is important over shorter distances.

As a Chartered Land Surveyor who is an expert in boundary issues I am more concerned about relative accuracy.

Adverse Possession

It is a commonly held belief that adverse possession entitles someone to take ownership of a piece of land if they have occupied it for more than 12 years. Otherwise known as ‘squatters rights’, this used to be the case but since the Land Registration Act 2002 acme in to force, all this changed. Take a look at the Land Registry website for an explanation of the new rules.

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In the context of property boundaries there are two senses in which the term boundary can be used: Legal Boundary and Physical Boundary.

Boundary agreement

An agreement between the two parties regarding the position and/or description of the boundary. Land Registry have a more detailed definition in there practice guide ‘Boundary agreements and determined boundaries’.

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Chartered Surveyor

Chartered Surveyor is the description of Professional Members and Fellows of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) entitled to use the designation. Chartered Surveyors are entitled to use “MRICS” or “FRICS” after their names. The term Chartered Surveyor can apply to many different types of surveyor. CGD Ltd are Chartered Land Surveyors.

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Determined Boundary

A determined boundary is a boundary that has been agreed between the two parties with accurate measurements taken to fixed points so that the boundary can be re-established. Land Registry provides a practice guide to  ‘Boundary agreements and determined boundaries’.


Expert/Expert Witness

In relation to a boundary dispute, an expert witness is a person who, by virtue of education, training, certification, skills or experience, is accepted by a judge to provide expert advise and opinion. They are able to stand up in court and deliver “expert evidence” within the area of their expertise and generally, they will be a member of the RICS, giving them chartered status.

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General Boundary

In England and Wales we use a boundary system known as the General Boundary System. It relies on accurate boundary plans (Title Plans) which indicate the position of the property boundaries relative to mapping features.  Our boundaries are not recorded in absolute detail and rarely is accurate positional information recorded. The red line on a title plan, although accurate, does not provide a definitive position for the boundary.

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An ‘Indenture’ is a legal term that has many different meanings. In the context of property, it refers to a type of deed in which two parties agree to continuing mutual obligations. Often, the term ‘Indenture’ is used when related to a lease. One party may agree to lease the property or land, while the other agrees to make periodic payments.




      • Land Registry
        Her Majesty’s Land Registry, created in 1862, was established to register the ownership of land and property.
      • Land Surveyor
      • Legal Boundary
        The legal boundary of a property is an imaginary or invisible line dividing one person’s property from another. It is an exact line which has no thickness or width. It can be marked with a feature such as a fence or hedge etc. Or it may exist as a  description in a document or a line on a plan.

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      • Ordnance Survey
        The Ordnance Survey (OS) is the mapping agency of Great Britain. In relation to boundary disputes, the OS provide the base maps on which much of our boundary information is created and on which the Land Registry create their plans. Generally the maps used are at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500.
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      • Physical Boundary
        The physical boundary can be anything from a fence , hedge or wall or in fact any structure that separates your property from a neighbouring property.

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      • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
        The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional body that accredits professionals within the land, property, construction, and infrastructure sectors worldwide.
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      • Topographic Survey
        Topography relates to the study of the shape of features on the surface of the Earth. Topographic Surveying or land surveying, is the process used to determine the position, generally in three-dimensions, of these points or features on the Earths surface. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyor.







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