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This article considers how problems in legal historiography can lead to real legal problems, through a case-study of two recent judgments which appear to revolutionise the law on overreaching under section 2(1)(ii) of the Law of Property Act 1925. Their reasoning ignored plain wording in the Act, in a way foreshadowed by problems in the historiography of the 1925 property legislation; and the legislative history shows that the version of overreaching they promote, one with a clear political meaning, was rejected by Parliament. One of these decisions has now been reversed on appeal, but on reasoning so untenable as to invite further challenge; and now two Court of Appeal judgments on overreaching contradict, without even mentioning, two prior Court of Appeal decisions and a decision of the House of Lords. The court should reaffirm the law on overreaching, and academics should develop a new historiography.
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