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length to the Torrens system of land registration. I quote from him as follows:
"The contrasts between our present system of registration of deeds and the Torrens system of registration of titles are very marked. Under our system title to land depends not only upon instruments recorded in the registry of deeds, but also upon facts and proceedings which lie outside of those records. There is a constant increase in the mass of records of deeds and of proceedings affecting titles to land, which makes the work of examination a constantly growing burden. If any man's title to a piece of land is questioned or attacked by any particular person the commonwealth has provided courts with appropriate .jurisdiction in which the owner can have his rights ascertained and established as against that person. But it has failed to provide any method by which one can have his title ascertained and established as against all the world. Under our practice a new examination of the title is usually made upon each sale or mortgage of a piece of land, in spite of the fact that sufficient examinations may have been made in former transactions. These repeated re-examinations, generally needless, not only cause useless expense but delays which often involve a seri. ous loss.
“Under the Torrens system an official examination of title is substituted for an unofficial one, and the result when once sufficiently ascertained is given conclusive effect in favor of the owner, and his title is made perfect against all the world. In effect under the Torrens system the State provides a proper court in which anyone can have his rights in relation to a piece of land declared and established, not only as against particular persons who may have an adverse interest upon special notice to them, but also as against everybody. The principle of basing decrees upon general notice to all persons interested
already prevails in our probate law. Laws providing for the removal of clouds upon the title to land after general notice to all unknown defendants exist in many States of the Union, and the validity of decrees made under such laws has been established by decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. . "The contrasts in practical effect between the two systems are therefore very great. Under the system of registration of deeds, we have needless expense from repeated re-examinations, loss from delays, and possible insecurity arising from the fact that title depends not only upon the records but also upon facts outside of the records and not disclosed by them. Under the Torrens system, the title is examined once for all, and there is no needless re-examination; as all subsequent acts and proceedings must be brought one by one to the registrar to be noted, the state of the title can be ascertained at any time by simple inspection of the certificate on record. Therefore, with the added advantage of great simplification of the forms of legal instruments, transfers can be made quickly, easily and at small expense; and, further, there is absolute security in the possession of the premises bought, resulting from the indefeasibility given to the certificate of title issued by the State. The result is that under the Torrens system real estate can be transferred or pledged for loans with almost as much ease as stock in corporations.
“A further feature of the system is worthy of notice. When land is first registered and a certificate of title is issued, or when it passes by will or descent on the death of an owner, the applicant, devisee or heir is required to pay a small per: centage of the value of the land, generally about one-fifth of one per cent., into the public treasury. The sums so paid form an 'assurance fund' which is held for the payment of indemnity to any person who may have had some claim upon, or interest
in, land admitted to registration, and who failed to receive notice of the application, or for other sufficient cause did not assert his claim. Under our system, on the other hand, a purchaser may have paid full value for his land, yet if any outstanding claim or interest is overlooked, he is obliged to makefurther payment, and may be remitted for his remedy to a. suit upon covenants which have no practical value.
"Again, technical claims are sometimes passed over by oneattorney as of no consequence, but by subsequent requirement. of some other attorney, who thinks them of importance, the owner may be subjected to delay and expense in obtaining a release.
"Such being, in brief, the features of the Torrens system as: contrasted with that which we now employ, argument seemsalmost superfluous in support of the advisability of adopting it. While a system which gives absolute security of title and makes transfers easy, quick and inexpensive, tends to make all land more valuable, its benefits will be especially felt by two great classes of our people the small land-owners and the borrowers upon mortgage. Widely distributed proprietorship of land and the ownership by the people, to the greatest possible extent, of the homes in which they live, are so obviously desirable that. I need not dwell upon them. It is evident that the masses of the . people are more injuriously affected by the insecurity and ex- . pense connected with our present system than the rich; the, smaller the piece of real estate the greater is the proportionate expense of transferring it. Under the Torrens system, the expenses of transfer are based upon a fixed percentage of the value of the estate, so that a small estate is not subjected to a greater proportionate charge than a large one. Then, too, ease and cheapness of transfer are of more consequence to a
man whose whole property is invested in a small piece of real estate than to the large land-owner, as it is more important to the former to be able easily to dispose of his property to meet any sudden exigency.
“The convenience and relief afforded by this new system to all who borrow upon mortgage will be very great. The facility of raising money easily and cheaply upon landed security is of great consequence to the prosperity and development of a ..community. By abolishing the tax formerly imposed upon mortgages, our State has already relieved borrowers of one unjust and oppressive burden, to the great advantage of the public, and the additional step now proposed will confer further benefit in the same direction. The power of readily pledging real estate will also prove of great importance to the business community. At present the delays involved in an examination of title often prevent a business man from obtaining a needed advance to meet a sudden stringency in the money market. At times when loans are contracted and credit is shaken it would be of great benefit to business if all the real estate of the community, possessing, as it does, greater stability of value than anything else, could be made as immediately available as a means of raising money as stocks of goods or other personal property.
“The Torrens system of registration of title was an adaptaition to land of a system of registration of title to shipping. It
was established in the colony of South Australia in the year 1856. It has since been adopted in the other Australian colonies, in New Zealand, British Columbia and in the city of Toronto in a modified form; it was established in part of Ireland soon after the year 1863; and as the result of a long agitation in England, a bill embodying it was brought forward as a government measure at the last session of Parliament. Systems of dealing with land which give like facilities of transfer have long existed in some of the continental countries of Europe. The successful use of the Torrens system for nearly a generation in Australia, its introduction into other English. possessions, all deriving their system of law from the same source as ourselves, show that it can be easily adapted to our circumstances.
"I believe the present Legislature can go far enough into this. matter to become satisfied that the proposed system is both desirable and practical, and to take action looking to its adoption. It is evident, however, that before a proper bill can bedrafted for its application in this commonwealth the whole subject should receive the most careful and painstaking investigation, ample opportunity should be afforded for all persons. interested to express their views and to make suggestions, and the machinery for carrying out the new system should be thor-oughly planned. It will also be found desirable, no doubt, to make some other changes in our present laws relating to land! in connection with the adoption of the new system of transfer.. I recognize that it is entirely impossible for a committee of the Legislature, burdened with the duty of hearing and reporting upon many important matters in a limited time, to undertakethe framing of such a statute.
"I therefore recommend the appointment of a special commission, to be charged with the duty of giving public hearings on this matter, and reporting to the next Legislature the draft of a proper Act, together with any amendments of our present law which should accompany it."
I quote from a letter to the Chairman of this committee from Judge Leonard A. Jones, a celebrated law writer, whose books: are well known to the members of this Association, and who