The Law Commission, in conjunction with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), reviewed the Land Transfer Act 1952 and amendment Acts. An Issues Paper (IP10) was published in October 2008. The aim of the review was to modernise and streamline the 1952 Act, not to make any fundamental changes to the Torrens system of registration. A particular objective was to base the Act on the reality that the system for dealing with registration and dealings in land is now electronic. This was the first comprehensive review of the 1952 Act since the early Land Transfer Acts over a century ago, so the review was long overdue. Submissions were received on the Issues Paper by March 2009. The Law Commission and LINZ worked to produce a Report accompanied by a draft Bill, under the oversight of a steering committee. The Report with a draft Bill and commentary attached was published in July 2010.
Terms of reference
The Law Commission will conduct a review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 with a view to modernising it and recommending such changes as may be appropriate. The review will reflect the fundamental soundness of the principles underlining the Torrens system of land registration that have been part of New Zealand law since 1870
In particular, the review will:
• Ensure the integrity of the Land Transfer system and make recommendations to improve it;
• Ensure that the provisions of the Act take into account other developments in property law, both statutory and by judicial decisions;
• Ensure that the law is certain and clearly expressed, and supply any omissions in it;
• Examine the adequacy of the provisions concerning state guaranteed title; and
• Examine electronic developments and how the law should deal with them.
This review will be led by the Law Commission and will involve active co-operation with the Ministry of Justice and Land Information New Zealand. The Commission is asked to produce a draft Bill. The final report should be ready at the end of 2008.
Review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 (NZLC IP10, 2008)
The Commission's Issues Paper, Review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 (NZLC IP10, 2008)
A New Land Transfer Act (NZLC R116, 2010)
In this Report, A New Land Transfer Act (NZLC R116, 2010), The Commission recommends replacing the Land Transfer Act 1952 and its two amendment Acts. It also contains a Land Transfer Bill, which modernises the Land Transfer Act and reflects the fact that the system is now predominantly an electronic one. The essentials of the Torrens system of land registration are retained, but the Law Commission recommends providing a judicial discretion to reverse the principle of immediate indefeasibility and providing an obligation for mortgagees to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of a mortgagor.
There is no requirement for the Government to present a formal response to a Commission report where it has accepted the Commission’s recommendations. (See Official Government response process | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).)
Most of the recommendations and the tenor of the regime recommended in the report were implemented in the Land Transfer Act 2017.