E-Conveyancing and the Torrens System

Running to nine pages, this paper starts with the author wondering why, with the advances made in information technology over the last 30 years, the public function which records and stores millions of transactions a year has succeeded in largely avoiding it. He looks at the idea of having a system where the conveyancing transaction will have electronic data as its starting point - a certificate of title in electronic form. Effectively all the information will be saved on a data file, and the transaction will thus be paperless.

Information will then be added by the various role players - estate agents, attorneys, banks, etc. The consummation of this process will be the electronic lodging of the relevant information with the Registrar, who will examine the electronic form and, when he is satisfied it is correct, automatically update the Register.

The paper discusses issues such as electronic signatures, electronic funds transfer, the rights of parties to view information in the process and, most importantly, the time saved with such a system.

What is the Torrens System?
According to Websters, it is:
A system of registration of titles to land (as distinct from registration of deeds) introduced into South Australia by the Real Property (or Torrens) Act (act 15 of 1857-58), drafted by Sir Robert Torrens (1818-84). Its essential feature is the guarantee by the government of property-registered titles. The system has been generally adopted in Australia and British Columbia, and in its original or modified form in some other countries, including some states in the United States.

Electronic Conveyancing

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