JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL 22/2014
University of Latvia
Reform of Land Registration
Usually a distinction is drawn between ‘land’ and ‘chattels’. One source describes the difference thus: ‘For
example, a brick in a builder’s yard is a chattel; once used to build a wall, it becomes a part of the land; and
if the wall is knocked down, the bricks become chattels again’.*1
What is known as the superﬁ cies solo cedit principle is extracted from the sources of Roman law (Gaius,
D. 41, 1, 7, 10):
When someone builds on his own site with another’s materials, he is deemed to be owner of the
building because all that is built on it becomes part of the soil. However, the owner of the materi-
als does not thereby lose his ownership of them [...]. Hence, if the house should collapse for some
reason, the owner of the materials can have a vindication for them and have an action for their
The same principle is prescribed by Section 968 of the Latvian Civil Law*3 (hereinafter also ‘CL’): ‘A build-
ing erected on land and ﬁ rmly attached to it shall be recognised as a part thereof.’
Similar use of the term ‘land plot’ (the concept of Grundstück) can be found in §94 of the German Civil
Code*4 (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or BGB).
Although the Latvian CL does not use the term ‘land plot’ or ‘plot of land’, it rather frequently employs
the term ‘immovable property’ (see, for instance, Subdivision II of Sub-chapter IV of Chapter III: ‘Rights
of Owners in Regard to Immovable Property in General’), which is regarded as a synonym for the term
‘immovable’ in the doctrine associated with the Latvian CL.*5
Therefore, the terminology of the Latvian CL meshes with the common understanding of what the
‘land’, ‘plot of land’, or ‘immovable’ is, even though Latvian law does not always draw strict distinctions
among the above-mentioned terms or mark out a clear delineation between the immovable as an object of
rights and the right or interest in the immovable.
1 E.H. Burn, J. Cartwright. Maudsley & Burn’s Land Law Cases and Materials, Ninth Edition. Oxford University Press 2009,
2 The Digest of Justinian, Volume 4: English Language Translation Edited by Alan Watson. University of Pennsylvania Press
1998, p. 3.
3 Civillikums (Civil Law). ‘Valdbas Vstnesis’, 41, 20.2.1937 (in Latvian).
4 Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. BGBl. I S. 42, 2909; 2003 I S. 738. English text available at http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/
englisch_bgb/ (most recently accessed on 6.2.2014).
5 A. Grtups, E. Kalniš. Civillikuma komentri. Treš daa. Lietu tiesbas. pašums [‘Comments on the Civil Law, Part III:
Property Law, Ownership’], 2nd edition. TNA 2002, p. 23 (in Latvian).