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In Phillip Brelsford et al v Providence Estate Limited, this Court considered whether land transfer instruments were effective in transferring title to a purchaser, notwithstanding their non-compliance with the registration requirements of section 107 of the Registered Land Act of Montserrat (“the Act”).
The Court held that once registration is effected, it must attract the consequences which the Act attaches to registration, whether the registration was regular or otherwise. As it is the registration and not its antecedents which vests and divests title, the failure by a vendor to execute the land transfer instruments in accordance with section 107 of the Act does not affect the validity of a purchaser’s title. In other words, once a purchaser is registered as a proprietor of a parcel, that purchaser acquires title to that parcel, notwithstanding any irregularity that may have occurred with respect to the vendor. Furthermore, in the absence of fraud or mistake, the conditions for rectification of the register under section 140 of the Act do not arise and the court has no jurisdiction to otherwise order rectification, that is, cancellation or correction of the register.
In the case at bar, the land transfers made in the purchasers’ favour were void as they were not the act of the vendor, but were executed by a person purporting to be the vendors’ representative. Notwithstanding, the void transaction does not give rise to an equitable interest in the property itself, but could however give rise to the equitable right to sue for recovery of the land, and the purchasers as the new registered proprietors of the land would hold their titles subject to this right.
Claim No. MNIHCVAP2016/0008 Carrington, JA. [Ag.] Delivered: 15/02/2018