THE TORRENS SYSTEM IN ALBERTA: A DREAM IN OPERATION
AbstractA major failing of the Torrens system was exposed in the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent interpretation of the Land Titles Act, which deprived the defendant owner of valuable mineral rights and prevented compensation from the Assurance fund based on the registrar’s clerical error. Despite this, there was no major outcry against the system, but only against implementing a deed registry system instead. To understand this, the author surveys in depth the history and features of the Torrens system, illustrating why replacement is considered retrogression. He explains the mirror and curtain principles behind the system, as well as the assurance fund, but also exposes the many mechanical weaknesses and exceptions to indefeasibility. Finally, he canvasses those problems specific to mines and minerals, examines why the province adheres to a different system than its citizens and discusses the advantages to lessees of mineral rights of registering by caveat.
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