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amendment of 1910 had in our opinion let down some of the bars which had been wisely inserted in the law as originally passed, and that it had let them down too far, with the result that the law as it now stands on the statute books is an open door to the commission of fraud on the part of a so-called official examiner of titles who is inclined to commit fraud. Because of the ease with which that office is obtained, it offers an opportunity to people without conscience to obtain the office in order to achieve the fraud. In addition to that, if an examiner is careless or if he is incompetent, the same results may be obtained. The committee was, on that report and recommendation, continued and authorized to prepare and present a bill designed to put into the law what we deemed proper safeguards without substantially changing the law. We prepared such a bill and presented it to the Legislature. It was introduced in each house, but not reported out of committee. A copy of the bill is annexed to the report. In order to explain our reasons we sent a letter of explanation to each member of the Legislature. It also is annexed to the report. We find considerable opposition to the adoption of this bill. The opposition rests upon the contention that it will impair the beneficent purposes of the law, and in our opinion the issue is clearly drawn between the opportunity for fraud which the law offers and the opportunity for speed which the law offers. The members of the committee incline in favor of preventing the fraud because we do not think it will much impede the speed. However, we speak from apprehension and not from experience, and the things which we fear have not yet been accomplished and the law has not been much used. We have concluded that we have done our work and therefore we ask for our discharge. The law is not much used through the State. There have
been only forty-three applications for its use since it was passed. There have been only twenty-eight titles registered under it, fifteen have either been dismissed or have not yet been disposed of, therefore, we do not consider this is a matter of great moment at the present time, although we do see the possibilities for fraud or injury which lurk in the law. We have done all that we think we should be required to do and all that this Association should be required to do. If there are those who come after us who want to avail themselves of our labor in this respect, it is easily obtainable. So much for our activities. The information I think will interest you. In the first place, there have been, as I say, only forty-three applications. I think that in fifty-one counties there have been no applications whatever, and in those counties no use has been made of the law. We have tabulated in the report the counties in which it has been most used. In Kings county there have been nineteen applications and ten registrations. There have been also, if I remember correctly, twenty-four reported litigations, so that the reported litigations in respect to this speedy method of insuring title almost equals the number of titles registered under the law. In actual experience it turns out that we have merely formulated a new basis for litigation. The law has been, up to the present time, I think, a disappointment to most of the people who looked for its rapid adoption in practice. Questions of practice have arisen repeatedly. We have tabulated those decisions for the guidance of those who wish to practice under the law. I shall not undertake to read any of the decisions or any extracts from them except one, and that is a criticism by a judicial officer and relates to a practice which I understand has sprung up in which the so-called official examiner represents as the attorney the person whose title he seeks to
secure to be registered. The criticism of that is aptly expressed in the extract from the opinion which I shall read to you. "Whether the Legislature ever intended that the official examiner of title should also act as attorney for the plaintiff in a suit to register the title upon his own certificate, is open to question. The weight to be attached to the certificate is considerably lessened when the counsel upon whose search as an official examiner the Court is to rely is a retained attorney and counsel for the plaintiff. This is not the practice in other States where a similar law is in force. In other jurisdictions the official examiner is a disinterested lawyer occupying a position similar to a master in chancery or referee. In the case at bar the official examiner is the attorney for the plaintiff and is, of course, interested in securing for his client the decree of the Court prayed for. It would appear that the practice to be followed in these cases should be considered by the Justices of the Court throughout the State as soon as may be, so that some uniform rule may be adopted and confusing differences avoided, because, in the matter of examining titles, there are many systems and methods in use and varying degrees of particularity of search and statement required. in abstracts and it seems to me that rules must be established by the Court to meet this new condition of things."
It is undoubtedly true, I think, that the Courts could, if they were to adopt, in the general rules of practice, some standards, diminish the chances for fraud or injury to which we referred in our former report.
Only one thing more and I shall be through. Last year we reported the fact that a royal commission upon the registration of titles in Scotland had reported during that year. It was very interesting and, perhaps, not astonishing that there was scarcely any agreement between the mem
bers of that commission. Each had his own specific recommendations or there were several different specific recommendations made by the different members of the commission, the substance of which was that it was doubtful whether in Scotland such a system would be a success. During the present year a similar royal commission has reported in England. That commission has been unanimous in its recommendation, as I remember, and it has recommended thirty-nine changes in the present land transfer laws of England. It is not generally known that a land transfer system somewhat similar to the Torrens law, as a permissive system, has existed in England since 1862, and as a compulsory system has existed for many years in the county of London. This royal commission was appointed at the instance of the Borough Councils of eighteen municipal boroughs within the county of London, each of which protested against the compulsory feature of the law in London. The commission reports in substance that the law can never be a success if it is not compulsory. And it is doubtful whether it can ever be a success if it is compulsory. They say that even where it is compulsory it has proved a great disappointment, and, instead of being cheap, has proved more and more expensive, so that, after all these years and after five official investigations into the subject by the Parliament of Great Britain, this committee reports; and, as a final suggestion, it may interest you very much, they say, without recommending it - because they say it is not within the scope of their powers nevertheless it has been called to their attention very forcibly, that it is impracticable to make any such system efficient where the system of real estate law apart or distinguished from a system of personal property law exists, therefore they commend to the careful consideration of Parliament the
advisability of abolishing the legal differences between real and personal property, so that I merely say in closing that in a country where, or in one of the countries where the system has been practiced longest and where the number of titles registered under it has been most numerous because I think they run between three and four hundred thousand it is pronounced unsatisfactory, and the last possible solution that is suggested is the abolition of real estate law in order to make the system work. The committee, Mr. President, asks for its discharge.
Mr. Boston moves that the report of the committee be received and filed and that the committee be discharged. Are there any remarks to be made upon that motion?
Sheldon T. Viele, of Buffalo:
Mr. President, I believe that comparatively few members of the profession have as yet a real intelligent interest in title registration. Referring to the remarks of the last speaker, I believe that with increased experience in the law all necessary rulings will be made to insure the proper enforcement of the act. As an examiner under the act from Erie county, I wish to express my appreciation of the final judicial attitude taken by the Chairman of the committee. in their report which seems to aim at being purely and properly informative. At the same time I think you are entitled to have pointed out to you certain features as the outcome of a study of the past three years of the subject, including personal examination of the data selected by the original commission which drafted the bill, and an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee to favor the