No. 61
21 October 1861
I have the honour to enclose the Copy of a Proclamation issued by me on the 26th of August last, intituled the "British Columbia Land Registry Act1861.Manuscript image 1861," the object of which is the Registration of all instruments affecting Real Estate in the Colony.
2. Considering the great importance of establishing, as early as possible, a system of Registration of deeds adapted to the peculiar character of the Colony, and one of which the Colonists might with facility avail themselves, I have endeavoured to take advantage of the experience of other countries, and accordingly YourGraceManuscript image Grace will find that the provisions of this Proclamation are nearly identical with those in the Registration system adopted in Canada, and very similar, I believe, to those in force in other British Colonies.
3. The Chief Office is established in the Capital of British Columbia, under the controul of a Registrar General, and other offices in the various Districts of the Colony, under the supervisionofManuscript image of the Chief Officer, will be formed from time to time, as occasion may require, under the controul, at present, of the respective Magistrates, as being the persons most likely to perform the duties with efficiency and economy.
4. All instruments in any manner affecting Real Estate may, after having been properly executed and certified, be registered by the Officer in whose District the land is situated, whose duty it will be to make an exact CopyofManuscript image of the instrument in the Register Book, and, before re-delivery of the instrument to the owner, to endorse thereon a memorandum of such Registration, referring to the page of the Register. The various Register Books will be arranged under appropriate titles corresponding to the nature of the instrument, and proper Index Books will be kept for the facility of reference.
5. Before any document can be Registered, its authenticity must be strictly proved, andtheManuscript image the most stringent provisions are inserted in the Act for the due execution and attestation thereof, so that no room will, I trust, be offered to the Commissioner of injury or fraud. The Registrars are empowered to compel the testimony of witnesses to the execution of deeds; and provision is made for the issuing of Commissions to take the deposition of witnesses.
6. All persons are deemed to have notice of the contents and legal effect of everyinstrumentManuscript image instrument, as soon as it is registered, but no person, other than the parties thereto, is affected by notice of any unregistered instrument executed after the time when the Act comes into force.
All unregistered instruments are void against subsequent purchasers and incumbrancers of the same estate who have registered; so that in effect, priority of registration will confer priority of Title. But the actual commission of Fraud will always be a ground for the interference of aCourtManuscript image Court of Equity.
7. Where in any case the original document cannot be procured a copy thereof duly certified by the Registrar may be used in evidence in all Courts of Judicature.
8. The Scale of Fees authorised by the Act to be taken for Registration has been framed with a due regard to existing circumstances, but it will be seen that proper provision is made for its alteration should an amendment hereafterappearManuscript image appear advisable.
9. The Act does not apply generally to instruments executed prior to the time of its coming into force, of which due notice has been given; but such instruments may be registered, and after registration all persons are deemed to have notice thereof. No priority of title however is thereby conferred, nor would it be right that such a consequence should ensue.
10. I have not deemeditManuscript image it advisable to introduce into British Columbia the more perfect and elaborate system of Registration which is at present in force in Vancouver Island, for the much greater extent of the former Colony would render a constant reference to the Chief Office inconvenient; it will be therefore necessary to form other Offices in the various Districts, each possessing its Registrar, who would, if the Vancouver Island system were adopted,beManuscript image be required to possess a special legal qualification; and it appeared to be absolutely impossible to procure, from the very limited body of practitioners in these Colonies, a sufficient number of properly qualified Officers.
Moreover the cost of such a system would in itself be, I submit, an insuperable objection to its introduction into British Columbia.
11. With those remarks I beg to submit this importantActManuscript image Act for Her Majesty's approval.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
See 10962.
VJ 10 Decr
Land Board.
FR 10/12
CF 11