South Australia can claim to be the birthplace of conveyancing with three notable initiatives over 100 years ago.

In 1841, South Australia established an office for the registration of deeds – a world first.

Never before had individuals been able to view the deed showing title to land.

Sir Robert Torrens, South Australia’s third premier, introduce the Real Property Act in 1857 and despite strong opposition, mainly from the legal profession, it was passed through both houses of parliament and was assented to on the 27 January, 1858.

The Act established a new government guarantee system of land transfer through one document recorded at a single registry.

This simplified the existing requirements and allowed ownership to be easily identified through the registration of the Certificate of Title.

Security of title and ease of transfer were the dual principles of Sir Robert Torrens system.

The Torrens system has now been used throughout Australia and has been adopted in New Zealand, England, Canada and the USA.

The expertise of specialist conveyancers was also recognised at the time in South Australia, another first for the state.

Whilst conveyancing work was traditionally undertaken by solicitors, South Australia led the way with its recognition of non-solicitor conveyancers.

Today, our non-solicitor conveyancers are highly qualified, tertiary-educated professionals, who have chosen to specialise in conveyancing work.

In South Australia, the majority of conveyancing work is now undertaken by registered, non-solicitor conveyancers.

Interestingly, Sir Robert Torrens was a layman, not a Lawyer, so this may have influenced his desire to simplify the law and his willingness to recognise non-solicitor conveyancers.

You can read more about Sir Robert Torrens here.

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