Torrens Definitions for Land Surveyors

Torrens registration system—A method of recording the ownership of land in which the title to the land is registered, instead of the evidence of such a title, as is the case with other methods.

Torrens title system—Registration of the title to the land, not the evidence of such a title. The Torrens title system is a system under which, upon the land owner’s application, the court may, after appropriate proceedings, direct the issuance of a certificate of title. With some exceptions, this certificate is conclusive as to the applicant’s estate in land. After registration, all deeds and documents affecting the property are duly registered. This system was named after its author, Sir Robert Torrens. It was first introduced in South Australia in 1857. Torrens title includes the guarantee of sufficiency of title. At the time of the first registration under this system there is a quiet title action on the property, giving a new starting point to the chain of title and eliminating the need for maintaining previous records. Torrens has the main advantage that ownership and possession are assured. The 1898 Massachusetts Registration Act provides for a Torrens system with a land court. Chicago, Illinois Cook County, has a Torrens system which came into effect in 1897, after the fire of 1871 which destroyed many of the county’s land records. See also abstract of title; certificate of title; title insurance, title policy.

Source: NSPS “Definitions of Surveying and Related Terms“, used with permission.

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