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Controversial Changes To Land Transfer Act Debated

Controversial Changes To Land Transfer Act Debated

A conference on Land Law to be held in Auckland this week addresses controversy over the automation of registration and conveyancing of land.

The Faculty of Law at The University of Auckland is hosting "Taking Torrens into the 21st Century" to mark the 50th anniversary of the Land Transfer Act 1952, and to examine the continuing development of the Torrens system of land registration.

Several sessions will cover the automation of the Land Register, a controversial move already dubbed "an open door to mortgage fraud" by some conveyancers and fraud investigators.

The Conference organiser, University of Auckland Law lecturer David Grinlinton, says that, while the automated system should improve transactional efficiency, it does present new opportunities for computer fraud and error that may undermine security of title.

"There is the possibility that errors in remotely processed transactions may not be picked up and lie dormant on land titles for many years. The reforms also incorporate a shift of responsibility from government to individual practitioners and will encourage new forms of risk management such as title insurance.

"On the positive side, automation should lead to faster and more efficient conveyancing with reduced risk between the time money is handed over and a transaction is registered."

In 2002 the Land Transfer Act was significantly amended as part of the transition to a fully automated (computerised) system of registration and conveyancing. Similar developments are occurring in other Torrens jurisdictions, including Australia and Canada.

The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland on 19 - 21 March 2003. Conference organisers are expecting a large number of attendees from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other countries.

High level speakers of note at the Conference include:

* The Hon. Sir Anthony Mason, former Chief Justice of Australia * The Hon. William Gummow, Judge of the High Court of Australia * Professor Bruce Ziff, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada * The Rt Hon Justices Andrew Tipping and Peter Blanchard of the New Zealand Court of Appeal * The Registrar-General of Lands, Robbie Muir.

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