Customer Information: Paper certificates of title
We have received a number of enquiries regarding paper certificates of titles. The following key information and instructions supports our customers with requests of this nature.
- There are no ‘hard copy documents’ on file for your property that can be forwarded to you.
- If you would like a copy of relevant documents pertaining to your property, or if you would like proof of ownership of your property, these searches can be carried out through the Titles Queensland website.
- The document that will generate from this search (held in the Automated Titles System (ATS)) will be the authoritative source of current and historical title information, as it has been since 1994.
- Titles Queensland does not issue paper certificates of title following the commencement of the Land, Explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld), amending the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld), where since 1994 up until 2019, it was optional to receive a physical certificate of title and it did nothing more than provide evidence of the entries in the freehold land register (the Register) on the date of issue. It was not conclusive proof of ownership of a property. You can refer to section 215 of the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) which sets out that a certificate of title ceases to be evidence of the indefeasible title.
- It is the Register itself and the information contained therein which proves ownership and establishes indefeasibility of a registered proprietor’s title. Section 38 of the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) supports this view in that an indefeasible title for a lot is the current particulars recorded in the freehold land register (i.e., the electronic register).
- The abolishment of a paper certificate of titles does not impact indefeasibility (an inability to challenge your claim over your land). The conversion to electronic title rather complements indefeasibility as the registration process of documents is more efficient. This efficiency leads to faster registration which ensures sooner protection of interest.
- The paper certificate of title became redundant on the success of the Automated Titles System (ATS) and the inevitable rapid digitalisation of the legal sphere given the technology advancements.
- There has been no incidence of system hacking or data loss. Titles Queensland has strong fraud mitigation strategies in place, including some of the most rigorous identification processes for land title documents in Australia.
Automated Titles System (ATS) benefits
- The absence of a paper certificate of title eliminated the risks associated with the loss, theft, destruction or counterfeiting of the paper document and can also reduce the likelihood of fraud or identity theft if the paper document is relied upon at face-value as an entitlement to deal with property.
- The Automated Titles System (ATS) is a robust system and is subject to stringent cyber security controls and risk management strategies. It is regularly enhanced to incorporate new technologies which help insulate the system from cyber threats and other risks. Titles Queensland follows best practices in cyber security and continually monitors trends of concern across the digital landscape to ensure the security of the Register.
Further, it is noted that the explanatory note to the Land, Explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld) sets out:
The policy objective of the amendments is to enhance titling legislation to achieve operational improvements which will streamline and clarify titling processes and allow for the contemporary conveyancing environment by further facilitating electronic conveyancing.
Paper certificates of title have not been needed in Queensland since 1994 when the land registry was computerised. Only a small percentage of paper certificates of title still exist. For efficiency in preventing unnecessary duplication and to allow for the evolving conveyancing environment, on the commencement, provision for issuing duplicate paper certificates of title will be removed and any existing paper duplicates will no longer have any effect.