Land registration

Land registration

In law, land registration is a system by which the ownership of estates in land, is recorded and registered, usually by government, in order to provide evidence of title and to facilitate dealing.

In common law countries, particularly in Commonwealth jurisdiction, when replacing the deeds registration system, title registrations are broadly classified into two basic types: the Torrens title system and the English system, a modified version of the Torrens system ["Land Law In Ireland"; Andrew Lyall; ISBN 1 85800 186 2; Chp 24] .

England and Wales

A system of land registration was first attempted in England and Wales under the Land Registration Act 1862. This system proved ineffective and, following further attempts in 1875 and 1897, the present system was brought into force by the Land Registration Act 1925.

Over time various areas of the country were designated areas of compulsory registration by order so in different parts of the country compulsory registration has been around longer than in others. The last order was made in 1990, so now virtually all transactions in land result in compulsory registration. One difference is when land changes ownership after death and where land is gifted rather than sold; these only became compulsorily registrable in April 1998. Similarly it became compulsory to register land when a mortgage is created on it in 1998.

The Land Registration Act 2002 leaves the 1925 system substantially in place but enables the future compulsory introduction of electronic conveyancing using electronic signatures to transfer and register property.


Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Land Registry administers the Land Registration Ordinance and provides facilities for search of the Land Register and related records by the public and government departments. It has responsibility for the registration of owners corporations under the Building Management Ordinance.

United States of America

In the USA, land registration is not required. Instead, there are laws that are commonly referred to as "recording acts." Each state in the USA has a different recording act. Generally speaking, however, recording acts come in three flavors, "race statutes," "notice statutes," and "race/notice statutes."

Race Statute - Whoever records first wins. Race statutes are "extremely rare" because most people agree that it is unfair to protect a person who had actual notice of a prior conveyance. Currently North Carolina is the only state that employs this method.

Notice Statute - A subsequent purchaser for value wins if, at the time of conveyance, that subsequent purchaser had no actual or constructive notice of the prior conveyance. In short, a subsequent bona fide purchaser (BFP) wins.

Race/Notice Statute - A subsequent purchaser for value wins if: (1) at the time of conveyance, that subsequent purchaser had no actual or constructive notice of the prior conveyance and (2) the subsequent purchaser records before the prior purchaser. In short, subsequent BFP's win only if they record before the prior purchaser.

Even though recording acts in the USA do not require recordation, they do create a strong incentive for recordation. At a minimum, recordation creates constructive notice to any subsequent purchasers that a prior conveyance occurred and therefore protects the prior purchaser in the event of a subsequent conveyance.

Republic of Ireland

Land registration is not compulsory across all of Ireland, and two parallel registries are maintained: the Land Registry (Clárlann na Talún in Irish) and the Registry of Deeds (Clárlann na nGníomhas). Registration "is" compulsory in a number of the counties of Ireland when land is transacted.

The Irish system follows the English system but with features typical of the Torrens system (ie the register can be inspected by anyone). Robert Torrens himself drafted the Record of Title (Ireland) Act, 1865 in order to record titles conveyed. The Landed Estates Court a register, the "Record of Title". While the record was not open to the public, the index could be inspected by anyone. Recording of title under the Act was voluntary and this was one of the reasons why the Act proved ineffective. ["Land Law In Ireland"; Andrew Lyall; ISBN 1 85800 186 2; Chp 24]

The Land Registry has been dealing with the registration of all transactions (purchase, sale, mortgage, remortgage and other burdens) concerning "registered land" since 1892, and issued "land certificates" which are a state guarantee of the registered owner's good title up to 1st January 2007. Land Certificates have been abolished by virtue of Section 23 of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act, 2006. Every piece of land in the register — which is arranged by county — is granted a folio number, under which all transactions pertaining to the land can be examined on request and after payment of a fee. Approximately 90% of land by area, and 85% of title, is registered.

The Registry of Deeds has dealt with the registration of title deeds, mortgage documents and other documentation concerning "unregistered land" since 1708: such documents are not retained by the registry, but rather one-page summaries (called "memorials") of conveyancing and mortgage documents are stamped and filed by the registrar. No certificates or guarantees of title are issued: the registry merely endeavours to provide information concerning the deeds lodged against a certain property — and, crucially, the order in which they were lodged — such as the last named owner or the latest mortgage to be lodged.

Both registries are managed by the Property Registration Authority and have offices in Dublin, Waterford and in Roscommon. Since independence, the registries have dealt with the land in the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland (formerly the Irish Free State, 1922-37) only, the registers of land in Northern Ireland now being administered by the Land Registers of Northern Ireland.



ee also

*Land terrier
*Native title
*Property law
*Recorder of deeds


*cite book| title = Land Law | author = Riddall, J.G. | publisher = 7th ed., Lexis-Nexis Butterworths | year= 2003 | id=ISBN 0-406-96743-1 Ch.26 for current law in England and Wales

External links

* [ 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica] - much historical detail
* [ Land Registry in the United Kingdom]
* [ Land Registry and Registry of Deeds in the Republic of Ireland]
* [ Land Registry Data Online] - Provides online Land Registry data h of England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, Éire and Northern Ireland Land Registry data
* [ Lists of European Survey and Cadastre Websites by Country]

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