Legal Searches

Legal Searches

Sticks Research Agency undertakes a range of specialist legal searches. Our researchers are covered by our professional indemnity insurance for claims up to £1m – evidence of our cover can be provided on request.

Chancel Repair Liability

Individual property search

Chancel repair liability is a key issue for people wishing to buy property. It relates to an ancient medieval requirement for rectors to pay for the upkeep of the parish church’s chancel out of their assigned income, including rectorial glebe and great tithes. Over the centuries, a large proportion of liable land has passed into lay hands, which means anyone buying a house or land might be legally required to contribute towards the cost of repairing the parish church’s chancel. At present, it is down to individuals to ascertain whether their property, or intended purchase, carries chancel repair liability.

We offer a fixed price research package to solicitors, estate agents and private individuals wishing to check the status of a property. This provides a definitive answer for tithe rentcharge liability (as created by the 1836 Tithe Act and clarified by the records of ascertainment created in 1936) and a comprehensive assessment of other forms of liability.

Parochial Church Council search

From October 2013, the burden of listing all liable land within a parish will fall upon the Parochial Church Council, which will be required to provide a list of such property to the Land Registry so that the size and extent of the liability can be noted on the registered title. Only land registered before October 2013 can be called upon to contribute to the cost of repairing the chancel.

We can provide a comprehensive report for Parochial Church Councils, covering all forms of liability and identifying any liable plots of land within the parish so that they can be registered with the Land Registry. The report is accompanied by supporting digital images, as well as advice about any further steps (such as apportionment of linked plots) that are required.

Other Legal Searches

In addition, we can provide the following searches:

  • Locate and interpret extant material relating to historic court cases
  • Undertake a range of probate searches, for example tracking down possible claimants to bona vacantia estates
  • Research the previous ownership of property
  • Assist with investigating rights of way claims
  • Undertake a search for an enrolled change of name
  • Look for naturalization papers

For more information about our pricing structure, and additional information about the range of services we can offer you, please click here to contact us.