Abstract of Title in United Kingdom
Introduction to Abstract of Title
An epitome of the evidence of ownership showing the soundness of one’s right to an estate. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary the purchaser of a freehold estate is entitled to have such evidence for a period of forty years, but in the case of advowsons the period is one hundred years. The abstract is sufficient if it shows that the vendor is either himself competent to convey or can otherwise procure to be vested in the purchaser the legal and equitable estates free from incumbrances. 
Definition of Abstract of Title
In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Abstract of Title : Written details of the *title deeds and documents that prove an owner’s right to dispose of his land or an interest in this. An abstract generally deals only with the *legal estate and any equitable interests that are not *overreached. An owner usually supplies an abstract of title before *completion to an intending purchaser or mortgagee, who compares it with the original title deeds when these are produced or handed over on completion of the transaction. An abstract of title to registered land consists of *office copies of the entries in the register (together with an *authority to inspect the register) and details of any other documents necessary to prove the owner’s title, such as a marriage certificate proving a woman’s change of surname.
For unregistered land, the abstract of title must usually trace the history of the land’s ownership from a document at least 15 years old (the *root of title) and give details of any document creating encumbrances to which the land is subject. An abstract of title formerly comprised extracts, often in abbreviated note form, but now generally comprises duplicate copies of the relevant documents (an epitome of title). An abstract or epitome, with each copy document marked as examined against the original, may be sufficient in itself to deduce title; for instance, when a title is split into lots, the purchaser of each lot may be required to accept an examined abstract or epitome in lieu of the original title deeds, accompanied by an *acknowledgment and undertaking.
- Robert Harry Inglis, Sir, Dictionary of Political Economy