Property II: Acquisitions and Dealings
7 – TorrensPage 1 of 41
Approximately 26 countries have systems of land administration. Some, like the African systemof community titles, embody non-tenure based principles of land management. By contrast,common law countries reflect principles of private land ownership. In Australia, the Torrenssystem is the dominant land management structure. In addition to administering private landtenures, it is also a legal product exported to other legal environments around the world.Land administration may be thought of in several contexts. Broadly, these are conceptual,administrative, and geographical:
Conceptual (a mental understanding of and relationship with land)
Administrative (in government administration, law, economics, and public policy)
Geographical (surveying, GPS, GIS, mapping, satellite images, remote sensing, aerialphotos, orthophotos, Google Earth)Land administration is a product of both environmental and political factors. It formalises valuesabout land occupation, use and development, and interacts with the legal system to create aframework for recognising and enforcing recognised interests.
Land administration involves the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about the tenure, value and use of land when implementing land management policies.
Proper land administration accelerates wealth: it enables land to be used to develop markets,investment, private holdings and sustainable development:
What creates capital in the West is an implicit process buried in the intricacies of its formal property systems. … Legal property thus gave the West the tools to produce surplus value over and above its physical assets.
One example of land administration is the cadastre, a type of map which identifies logical parcelsof land rather than physical land holdings. It has its origins in Napoleonic France, where it wasused to record land boundaries and tax land owners. It is now used throughout the world, even inpoorer countries (though not England or the United States). As concepts of land ownershipchanged, and formal methods of administration developed, the cadastre has become a primarilytechnical instrument. It is now mostly used by surveyors. This development highlights therelationship between mechanisms of land administration and technological and political factors.Most countries lack even basic land administration systems. From the perspective of theinternational agencies, there exist four major land administration and land policy issues:1 Urban land tenures2 Native and other community titles3 Methods of improving centralised land administration
European Commission for Europe
Hernando de Soto,
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else