Torrens system

Torrens system
See also

Torrens system is a system of land title registration, which was named after its creator, Sir Robert Richard Torrens. The system was introduced first time in Australia in year 1858, but quickly spread further into Canada and other countries. It's said to be very similar, often even called identical, to systems of title registration that operate in many common law countries. Differences are distinguishable, but under thorough examination[1].

Land registration is a system which records titles to land, and it consists of two divisions[2]:

  • Title registration system
  • Deeds registration system

Overall, title registration system is beeing viewed as pretty important part of development of the land markets. It provides a lot of transparency and security.

Torrens system's main principles[edit]

Torrens system is built around three main principles[3]:

  1. "The mirror" - The title registration system will reflect the interests affecting the land completely and very accurately.
  2. "The curtain" - If an interest is not on the register, it won't bind new titleholders. The system is the only and sole source of information, which is available to purchasers.
  3. "The insurance principle" - The state guarantees the register being correct and accurate, compensating titleholders who suffer any losses due to an error in the register.

Those principles make selling and trading lands much cheaper, easier and faster. Thanks to them, new, fresh titles, free of local land use and custom encumbrances, are being produced.

The idea behind Torrens system[edit]

Robert Torrens wished to rectify most common problems of dependent titles under general law. In previous systems, the new grantor received a title, which was built on a chain of predecessors. The process to check and prove the validity of a title was long, sophisticated and uncertain. Torrens implemented a rule, which said that the grantor receives a fresh title in a similar way as an absolute grant from the Crown. This way a complex investigation wouldn't be necessary[4].

One of the main goals of Torrens system was to develop safer method of conveying land interests. Very important and innovative was a rule, which said that once title was registered, it obtained absolute security guarantee. Purchasers didn't have to worry about the title being defective or a subject to the existence of some other, previous interest. A new, fresh title was conferred upon the grantor, fixing its defects, with few exceptions[5].


  1. Brennan G., 2014, p. 120
  2. Brennan G., 2014, p. 119
  3. Grabham E., Beynon-Jones S., 2018
  4. Hepburn S., 2013, p. 229
  5. Grigg B., Esmaeili H., 2016, p. 27


Author: Jakub Urban