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Registration Register

title, deeds, land, lands, purchaser, affecting, wills and riding

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REGISTER, REGISTRATION, RE GISTRY. The mere possession of land is not sufficient evidence of the title to it, except in those cases where it can be shown that it has been held by a party who sells adversely for such a period as to preclude under the operation of the Sta tute of Limitations all claims from any other party. In tracing the title to land, a purchaser or mortgagee requires to have the right established by the produc tion of the instruments under which the title to it is derived; and the usual period during which such title is required to be shown is the last sixty years. Now ex cept in what are termed register counties, a purchaser or mortgagee has no means of ascertaining that some of the deeds purporting to show the title may not be purposely or accidentally withheld : for Instance, A. B. may have acquired a title under a deed of conveyance, or under a will, but may have mortgaged or other wise charged the estate, with an agree ment that he should remain in possession till default of payment, and may conceal the instrument which effects this charge ; and the purchaser, notwithstanding he bad no notice of such charge, may after payment of the purchase-money lose his estate by reason of a charge prior to his right in point of time. And he has no absolute means of guarding himself against this risk. If, however, there were a law which compelled the registry of all instruments relating to the title in lands, and protected purchasers from the opera tion of all such as were not registered, this evil would be removed ; and with due care in searching such registry a purchaser would be certain that he was duly protected against all adverse claims, and that his title was secure.

The Real Property Commissioners have devoted their Second Report to the subject of a general register of deeds, and they unanimously recommend the establishment of a General Public. Re gister for England and Wales of all deeds or instruments affecting land, in order to secure titles against the loss or destruction, or the fraudulent suppression or accidental non-production of instru ments ; to simplify titles by rendering in most cases needless the assignment of outstanding terms ; to protect them from the consequences of constructive notice ; and to render conveyances shorter and more simple.

To a certain extent such registers have been already established in Ena. laud. By the 27 Henry VIII. c. 16, it is enacted that all bargains and sales of laud shall be enrolled. The 2 & 8 Anne, c. 4 (amended by 5 Anne, c. 18) directs that a memorial of all deeds, con veyances, and wills concerning any lands in the West Riding of Yoikshire may, at the election of the parties, be regis tered; and that any conveyance or will affecting the same lands shall be deemed void against a subsequent conveyance unless a memorial shall be registered.

The 6 Anne, c. 35, recites that "lands in the East Riding of York, and in the town and county of the town of Kings ton-upon-Hull, are generally freehold, which may be so secretly transferred or conveyed from one person to another, that such as are ill-disposed have it in their power to commit frauds, and fre quently do so, by means whereof several persons (who, through many years' in dustry in their trades and employments, and by great frugality, have been en abled to purchase lands, or to lend moneys on land security) have been un done in their purchases and mortgages by prior and secret conveyances aLd fraudulent incumbrances; and not only themselves, but their whole families thereby utterly ruined :" and then the Act establishes a register of the memorials of deeds and wills in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The 7 Anne, c. 20, esta blishes such a register for Middlesex ; and the 8 George II. c. 6, establishes one for the North Riding of Yorkshire, and provides that deeds, wills, and judg ments affecting land may be registered at length, instead of the registration of mere memorials of them. In the Bed ford Level there is a registration of all deeds affecting land there. These regis ters, owing to the insufficiency of their indexes, and to some other defects, do not answer all -the purposes which might be expected from them, and in many re spects the arrangements respecting them are cumbrous and expensive: nevertheless (as the Commissioners remark) no one has proposed to abolish them. A registration of wills of personalty has long been esta blished in the ecclesiastical courts. The Act for Abolishing Fines and Recoveries (3 & 4 Wm. IV. c. 74) substitutes for them a deed which is enrolled in the Court of In Ireland, Scotland, in the Colonies, in most of the United States, in Sweden, France, and Italy, and in many of the German States, registers are esta blished. Nor is it found that the disclo snres which a register makes of the state of landholders' property produce inconveni ence, nor are such disclosures insepara ble from all systems of registration. It is obviously for the public benefit that the apparent extent of a person's landed property should not induce men to give him a credit to which the actual amount of that property does not entitle him.

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