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To gauge an understanding of how boundaries are perceived in Ireland by landowners

Author - Daragh O'Brien, Dr. Patrick Prendergast


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4. Land Registration & Cadastral Systems Worldwide
To put Ireland’s registration system into perspective, one needs to compare it to other systems around the world (Figure 3).

4.1 French Systems
The French system dates back to Napoleon I where it was used extensively to collect land tax. The system contains maps showing location of boundaries of all land units. It is based on a deeds system of registration where titles are not guaranteed by the state.

4.2 German System
The German system is based on title system of registration where registered titles are guaranteed by the state. It has a fixed boundary system based on cadastral surveys.

4.3 Torrens/English System
The Torrens system uses fixed boundaries based on Cadastral surveys where registered titles are guaranteed by the state (Brophy, 2003). The English system is a variant of the Torrens system of land registration, where registered titles are guaranteed by the state, however boundaries are not. Properties are identified on maps from Ordnance Survey maps using general/non–conclusive boundaries.

Below (Figure 4) is an illustration of the types of registration systems used throughout the world.

Recording boundaries accurately is not just a problem here in Ireland. It is an issue worldwide. In Hong Kong, official monuments may mark the corner of land parcels, while boundaries may be defined by descriptive plans however it may not fully define boundaries on the ground (Park, 2003). In Hong Kong, Tang (2004) describes their land registration system as way behind the stable Australian boundary system and very far behind the Singaporean system, where their national land boundary records are a legal co-ordinate cadastre.

Land administration systems are essential parts of a country’s national infrastructure. They are in constant reform and are part a nations identity,

    “...representing society’s perceptions of land, making them distinctly different in every country... Land administration systems are generally complex in themselves, and the cultural, traditional, and social diversities increase the complexity of evaluating and comparing national systems with each other even more” (Steudler, 2004, pg. 4).

Land registration systems are all well and good for countries that can afford them, it is different in third world countries that have no funding and cannot afford such elaborate systems. This can be seen primarily in South America where they have adapted deeds registration without legal sanction of boundaries (Tang, 2004). A main contributor to the cause of property rights for poverty stricken countries is Peruvian born economist, Hernando De Soto. De Soto (2000), describes England & Europe as having “an integrated legal property system” that manages a nations assets. Europe with their Cadastre and England with their title based system enables these countries to register land effectively. De Soto wants more security of tenure for property owners in undeveloped countries. He has acted on this and has proposed that land held by the poor be titled, and thus create financial opportunities that would release the value of land. De Soto believes that this would help identify capital that is tied up in land and use their land as security and an opportunity to access credit. This ideology is now being implemented by the United Nations (Williamson et al, 2010).

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