Elizabeth Cooke - please credit Vikki Ellis
Judge Elizabeth Cooke is the new Principal Judge of the Land Registration division of the Property Chamber, First-tier Tribunal.

The Land Registration division was created in July 2013 to hear disputes referred by the Chief Land Registrar. It replaced the Office of the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry.

The division also has jurisdiction to hear disputes about network access agreements and a free-standing jurisdiction to rectify documents pursuant to section 108 of the Land Registration Act 2002.

Judge Cooke was appointed Principal Judge from 1 June this year, following the retirement of Edward Cousins in 2014.

A solicitor, her training at Withers in the 1980s instilled in her a love of complex property law. She left practice in 1991 and obtained an LLM (Master of Laws) in Property Law from the University of Reading in 1992, and was then appointed a lecturer in the Reading Law School and awarded a personal chair in 2003.

While at Reading she taught and published extensively on a wide range of property law issues; her books include Estoppel (2000), The new law of land registration (2002) and Land Law (in the Oxford Clarendon series, 2006 and 2012).

From 2008 to 2015 Judge Cooke served as a Law Commissioner for England and Wales. She was responsible for the commission’s reports on property, family and trust law during that period, including Easements, Covenants and Profits a Prendre (2011), Electronic Communications Code (2013), Conservation Covenants (2014) and Rights to Light (2014).

She worked on the early stages of the commission’s new project on land registration from its beginnings in 2014 and is continuing to assist the commission with that project, so as to maintain its momentum pending the appointment of a new commissioner.

Judge Cooke has been a criminal recorder since 2009 and a Deputy High Court Judge since 2013, sitting in the Administrative Court, and she will continue in these roles alongside her new position.

Her hobbies include rock climbing, baroque chamber music and, as she puts it, “watching the children take off in unexpected directions”.

Photo by Vikki Ellis

Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Digital Communications and Editorial Officer at HM Land Registry