I started this business becasue I was taken in by one of the many fraudsters on the internet selling lordships or lordship titles. After a considerable investment into the law with a senior London barrister, I created this service to offer a legal alternative. I hope that by this service being in existence, we will stop hundreds of people from being a victim to the fraudsters.
Listed below are some of the things you can check yourself.
Look for an address
If you cannot find one do not pay any money. If you find an address “Google” it and find out who it belongs to. Many fraudsters use “Postal” offices. They are only mail boxes and you may never find the company if you have an issue.
Insurance Backed Titles
It is impossible to insure against the owner of the policy committing fraud. This is offered to convince the unsuspecting purchaser that they cannot lose their money. Ask for a copy of the policy, previous requests have been ignored. Or phone any insurance company and ask if an insurance policy can protect against the policy holder committing fraud.
Societies, Guilds etc.
Most societies online offer very little to a potential member. Many have been set up to convince you to buy lordships without the correct paperwork. Or are used as a method of getting copies of your paperwork, so they can use it to commit fraud. Also beware societies that claims to have existed for a long time. One of these societies claims to have been created in 1906 however they are a limited company incorporated in 1996. Do not take what they claim on face value.
English manorial titles are sold under English law. If a web site is offering a lawyer’s letter ask for their registration number before parting with any money. With this number you can search the Solicitors Regulation Authority web site. If they are not there, the lawyers letter is not worth the paper it is written on. One web site uses someone who purports to have a law degree. This may be true but it certainly does not mean they are telling the truth.
Verify the Lordship Existed
Ask for reference material to check that a title actually has existed. Some web sites just makes up lordships/titles but claim they have existed for centuries.
You cannot copyright a lordship title. They have existed for hundreds of years and the Intellectual Property Office have adjudicated that they cannot be registered, so have no legal basis. A copyright has to be for an original piece of work and clearly a lordship title is not.
Square of Land in Scotland
At least one web site offers "landed titles". They use and old Scottish law that all Scotsman who own land in Scotland are lairds. This hails back to the days when the only land owners owned huge estates, but has never been repealed. The service they offer is to convey a 12" (300mm) square of land in Scotland and get you to name your vast estate. You can name your estate Mickey Mouse if you like, so you would become Laird of Mickey Mouse. They charge thousands for the privilege. This is a well known joke , so don't fall into the trap. Manorial lordships were separated from any land in the Law of Property Act 1925, so English historic titles do not fall foul of this rouse.
There are numerous registers for lordships on the internet. I would strongly recommend you do not contact any of them. One of these sites asks for the legal work that supports the ownership of a potential listing and uses this to de-fraud others looking to buy titles. Many of the registers charge a fee but what do you actually get for your money? A register is only as good as the people who run it. Locate who runs a site, if they are not legal professionals then the content of the register could say anything and its content therefore questionable. The only official register is held by HM Land Registry and that was closed back in 2003 as it was too much work to administer.
Prescription with Lost Modern Grant
This is used by some sites to show ownership of a lordship. Firstly, this is a new legal right to the lordship, NOT an old right. It works by saying proof of ownership has been lost so the seller can create a fictitious grant by the crown. The main problem with this is if one deed or historic reference is found to contradict the title then it fails in favour of the other chain of ownership. Secondly, it also requires proof that the lordship has been enforced against the physical land that was in the manor in the last 20 years. It is not enough for the seller to sign a statutory declaration to say they own it. With this proof it is still a weak proof of ownership however without it the seller has not even met the minimum legal requirement and you are buying nothing.
Coat of Arms
Lordship titles and coats of arms are not connected in any way. Coats of arms are specific to an individual and when that person dies the coat of arms can no longer be used. Traditionally a family would use certain features in their arms but a coat of arms is a pictorial statement of the characteristics of the holder. You therefore cannot just adopt someone else's arms.
You cannot trademark a lordship title.. They have existed for hundreds of years and the Intellectual Property Office have adjudicated that they cannot be registered, so have no legal basis. A trademark can only be for an original piece of work and clearly a lordship title is not.
Ask if you can have a The Gazette notice with your title. Why do fraudster not offer a notice in The Gazette? There are two main reasons. Firstly, The Gazette will only publish notices on behalf of the legal profession. As they do not use solicitors The Gazette refuse their requests. Secondly, they don’t want the true owners of the lordships see the notices, make a fuss and even sue them.
If In Doubt
Do not buy if you have any doubt, even from us. Keep asking questions until your doubt is removed.
Claims to Original Lordships
Only lordships that are sold with a consecutive set of deeds dating back to before 1189 can claim to be original Crown granted lordships. All other purported sales of lordships are with a new legal right, and that is if the claimant has actually used the law. If you are in any doubt we are happy to provide free advice. This advice will come with an independent reference showing its authenticity.