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as to the validity of the title conveyed is often the purchaser's sole guaranty, is substituted a certificate as simple as a certificate of stock, showing on its face in whom the title is vested, and also all the liens or other interests existing in the premises in question. The correctness of this certificate is guaranteed by law.
"The evils of the present system are manifest particularly in large cities and in the older communities. These are:
"First Expense. The cost of the abstract, or its continuation, and the opinion of counsel thereon upon every transfer.
"Second-Delay. This may extend to several months, the time being spent in procuring abstracts and deeds to fill the gaps in the chain of title and in negotiating as to claimed defects.
"Third-Insecurity. Errors may and often do exist in the abstract. They may and do also exist in the opinion of counsel.
"Fourth-The constantly lengthening of chain of deeds to be examined constantly increases the expense, delay and insecurity.
"Fifth-These defects operate as a perpetual tax upon the holder of real estate, depreciate its value and make it notoriously a 'slow' asset.
"Actual experience has demonstrated that the Torrens system will correct all these defects.
"First-The expense of the initial registration does not exceed the cost of a single transfer under the present system. In all subsequent transfers the expense will be much less than now. ordinary cases the total expense will not exceed two dollars.
"Second-Speed. In the generality of cases, the transfer or mortgage, including the examination of title, all may be completed within an hour.
"Third-The title is rested and quieted at every transfer; there is no long chain of deeds to be examined; the chance for error is eliminated, and the title, as transferred, is guaranteed not only by the seller's warranty, but by the law.
"Fourth-The records are shortened. No deeds are recorded. The original or duplicate deed is filed and left with the registrar. "Fifth-This safe, short and inexpensive method of transfer increases the value of the land and makes it a 'quick' asset.
"The principles of the Torrens system are:
"First-A public examination of title in the United States by a court of competent jurisdiction.
"Second-A registration of the title found upon such exami
"Third-Issuance of a certificate of title.
"Fourth-Re-registration of title upon every subsequent
"Fifth-Notice on the certificate of any matter affecting a registered title. Claims not registered have no validity.
"Sixth-Indemnity against loss out of an assurance fund."
After a discussion of this subject by the Association a resolution was adopted by the Michigan Bar Association indorsing the principles of the Torrens system of land title registration, and respectfully requesting the legislature of this State to take action for the adoption of the same.
At the session of the legislature in 1901, an act was passed authorizing the Supreme Court to appoint a commission of three persons to be known as the Nebraska Land Transfer Commission.
The commission is directed to investigate the Torrens system, and if deemed suitable to the laws and Constitution of that State, to draft a bill embodying the same and to report to the Supreme Court. Pursuant to the act the Supreme Court appointed Messrs. A. W. Critz, of Chaldron; W. L. Hand, of Kearney, and F. B. Tipton, of Seward, as such commission. The commission has recently filed an extensive report and from several columns of excerpts in the Omaha Bee it appears that a majority of the commission are enthusiastically in favor of the adoption of the system, while one
of the members, Mr. Critz, seems to feel that it is unnecessary and inexpedient to change the present order of things in that State.
Nevertheless he concurs with his colleagues in the form of the bill prepared.
Judge Hand, who writes the report, is quite confident that the system will be adopted by the Nebraska legislature at no distant day.
The House of Representatives of the last legislature passed a bill authorizing the Governor to appoint a commission to investigate the Torrens system and make a written report of its findings to the Governor, accompanied by a draft of a bill. The measure failed to pass the Senate. The subject is being actively discussed in that State and will undoubtedly come before the next legislature.
William Scott, President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, in his address before the Association in 1901, referred to the Torrens system of land registration, saying: "The statute above mentioned relative to notice of adverse title, suggests the query whether it is not time for us in Pennsylvania to seriously consider the advisability of urging the passage of an act providing for the registration of title similar to that known as the Torrens system. This system has been in operation in Australia for over forty years, and, it is claimed, with entire success. There are, of course, difficulties to overcome, but I cannot think that they are insuperable in Pennsylvania if they have been solved elsewhere.
"Our present system involves inconvenience, expense and delay, which, to say the least, are discreditable, and rightfully or wrongfully the bar is held responsible for its continuance and is apparently expected to suggest a remedy. For my part, I can see no really good reason why every conveyance or mortgage of real estate should render it necessary for some one in behalf of the purchaser or mortgagee to take out searches covering the history of the property from the days of Charles the Second, or the proprietaries, or
even from the Commonwealth, down to the present date; or why the ownership of real estate under a proper legal system should not be as readily ascertained, and as readily transferable, as the ownership of stocks or bonds. Objections to such an innovation may be expected from those whose attention has been given to transactions in real estate under our present methods, or from title insurance companies for reasons of the same character; but it is by no means certain that any of those interests would suffer.
"The change would necessarily be gradual and the work incident to the settlement and registration of titles would be of such extent and duration as to enable all to adapt themselves to the new conditions without ultimate inconvenience or loss; but even if this were not so, opposition on the grounds referred to should not be permitted to interfere with an improvement if it be found otherwise practicable and desirable; and I think the large majority of lawyers would gladly be relieved of the labor, responsibility and uncertainty incident to our present antiquated and outgrown system."
The following resolution was adopted by the Association:
"Resolved, That the Committee on Law Reform be instructed to take up the subject of registration of land titles and to arrange for a presentation and discussion thereof, and, if found desirable, to report a general act providing for the perpetuation of land titles, superceding or alternative with the present system of recording."
Hon. John B. McPherson, of Philadelphia, judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is chairman of the Committee on Law Reform, and has this subject and the draft of an act for the State of Pennsylvania under consideration, to be reported to the Bar Association.
The State Bar Association in 1899 appointed a committee to investigate the Torrens system, with instructions to report to the Association at its next meeting. At the meeting of the Association
in 1900, Mr. Eugene C. Massie, of the Richmond bar, the chairman of the committee, made a report that is the most exhaustive, able and interesting presentation of the entire history and operation of the system that the writer has had the benefit of examining. Mr. Massie deserves special commendation for his untiring energy and painstaking investigation of this subject. At the special
request of the Bar Association he made a second report in 1901, which was published in the September-October number of the American Law Review of last year; and the two reports form as accurate and complete a statement of what the title registration system is and what it accomplishes as can be found in any of the literature upon the subject. Through the courtesy of Mr. Massie the writer has availed himself in the preparation of this address of much of the information compiled in those reports.
As most of you are aware, they have for several months past been having a constitutional convention in Virginia, and the result of their deliberations will be determined on the 10th of this month.
Through the efforts of Mr. Massie the following section to the article on judiciary is inserted in the new Constitution, viz: "The legislature shall have power to establish such other court or courts as it may deem proper for the administration of any law it may adopt for the purpose of settlement, registration, transfer or assurance of title to lands in the Commonwealth, or in any part thereof." The Constitution of Virginia never contained a provision similar to that before, and the express object of that section is to permit the creation of a Special Land Registration Court similar to that of Massachusetts. Mr. Massie heartily agrees with Judge Jones in his earnest and forcible advocacy of the establishment of one special court with jurisdiction over the entire State, as distinguished from the acts of the other States that confer jurisdiction. of these matters upon the district or circuit courts.
It is interesting at this time to compare this new provision in the Virginia Constitution with Section 1 of Article 6 of our Colorado Constitution, as amended in 1886, and which reads as follows: