A recent spate of applications to claim manorial rights on properties in England and Wales has prompted a parliamentary investigation. The House of Commons Justice Committee announced today that it is to hold an inquiry in to the issue to inform any future review of the law. 

Manorial rights to resources such as minerals and hunting, shooting and fishing survived the 1926 abolition of other aspects of the manorial system. However, under the Land Registration Act 2002 they lost their overriding status in relation to properties if they were not protected by being registered before 13 October last year. The requirement led to a spate of applications to Land Registry to register rights - to the alarm of many freeholders who had been unaware that the rights existed. 

Kim Thomas, spokesperson for the Welwyn Garden City protest group Peasants’ Revolt, said:  'Manorial rights are a ridiculous feudal relic that have no place in the 21st century. The idea that a lord of the manor can still exercise his right to hunt, shoot, fish or mine on residents’ property is completely outlandish. Scotland abolished manorial rights several years ago, and we hope that as a result of the justice committee enquiry, the UK Parliament will do the same.’

The committee has invites interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence. Questions it plans to address include arguments for and against the abolition of manorial rights and the implications of abolishing manorial rights, including the cost of compensation. 

It stressed that it is unable to accept evidence referring to individual cases before the courts, except in relation to judicial review of a ministerial decision.

More information is available at the inquiry's website .