Overselling the Mirror and Curtain Principles of Land Titling

Jaap Zevenbergen

Two forms of the land registration component of land administration systems are normally distinguished: deeds registration and title registration. In the latter the register is supposed to reflect the correct legal situation (“mirror-principle”), and there is no need for further (historic) investigation beyond the register (“curtain principle”). In reality, as shown in recent student work, both these principles do not work out as simple as this sounds. The mirror is either very incomplete (allowing for overriding interests) or tends to put the title before reality, even if the title has been acquired through manipulation. The curtain is lifted, and buyers want easy (on-line) access to earlier transaction documents to verity themselves how the current right holder on the title came into that position. With the proclaimed advantages of title registration not real, and some disadvantages still there, also the legal framework of fit-for-purpose land administration needs to be rethought.

Event: Responsible Land Governance : Towards an Evidence Bases Approach : Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty

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Document type:Overselling the Mirror and Curtain Principles of Land Titling (188 kB - pdf)