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Torrens Title

Torrens Title

A Torrens title is a term used for a land registration system where a land holdings register is created and maintained by the state, serving as conclusive evidence of title (called ‘indefeasibility’) and the individual recorded as proprietor (owner) on the register. Additionally, any of the interests which cannot be guaranteed are referred to as ‘paramount interests’. Ownership of the land is transferable by registering a transfer of title, rather than using deeds for conducting transfers.

Certificate of Title is provided to a new proprietor by the Registrar. The new proprietor simply receives a copy of the relative folio from the register.

The system’s key benefit is improving certainty towards the title of land while simplifying any dealings which may include land. Various countries have adopted the system over time, especially countries within commonwealth nations. In addition, the system has been expanded to include other types of interests as well, including leaseholds, credit interest (mortgages, etc.), as well as strata titles.

In 1858, the Torrens system design was introduced in South Australia. Typically, the introduction is considered attributed to Sir Robert Richard Torrens. Torrens had been the Premier of the colony of the time. However, there are some who give attribution for the systems design to another individual.


Instead of the Torrens title system operating under “registration of title”, the principle of the system works under “title by registration”. Therefore, it grants a high indefeasibility to the registered ownership. With this process, the system eliminates the requirement of proving the chain of title, thus, tracing a title through various documents. Furthermore, the State will guarantee the title, but is typically backed with a compensation setup for anyone that loses the title because of a private error or fraud while operating within the state.

In the majority of jurisdictions, some land parcels continue to be unregistered.

The Torrens title system works by following these three principles:

Curtain Principle

Individuals are not required to operate behind a Certificate of Title because it consists of all information regarding the title. Therefore, the ownership will does not have to be proved through a complicated and long search through documents retained by the land owner, such as with a Private Conveyancing system. The Certificate of Title contains all needed information in reference to the ownership of land.

Mirror Principle

The individual register must fully and accurately reflect the current facts regarding the title for each lot of land registered. Doing so means every dealing which affects a lot of land has to be entered into the register, making it publicly viewable by conducting an online search. Lots that may be affected include mortgage or discharge, transfer of title, easement or covenant, or a lease.

Indemnity Principle

This principle ensures compensation of loss is provided if caused by errors resulting from the Registrar of Titles or private fraud.

Land & Property Information. “Land titles”.