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torrens system n
[after Sir Robert Torrens (1814-1884), British pioneer in Australia]
: a title registration system used esp. in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois, and Minnesota NOTE: When a certificate of title is first applied for in the Torrens system, the title is searched or examined, a court hearing is held (as in a land court), and a decree confirming title and ordering registration (as with the registrar of deeds) is issued. A certificate of title is then given to the owner, after which the property may be conveyed by executing deeds, delivering the certificate of title to be cancelled, and issuing a new certificate to the new owner. The title registered in a Torrens system is usually guaranteed and marketable, making title insurance unnecessary and greatly reducing the time spent researching the state of the title during subsequent conveyances.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.