Robert Torrens, an English Customs official, in Australia, conceived this plan which bears his name, and based his idea upon the following:

As real estate is fixed, and cannot be taken away by the purchaser, as he would a cow or other chattel, it has been the custom to transfer its title only, and by deed. Previously, however, the purchaser, or his attorney, investigates the right of the seller to transfer the title clear and free from the claims of others, or free from all encumbrances that would prevent a rightful transfer of such title.

To avoid the time and expense of the search necessary to determine this degree of rightful ownership, Torrens believed that all land could be registered and certificates of ownership transferred from one to another in much the same manner and with the same simplicity as shares of stock are used to express and transfer ownership in a corporation.

The plan was adopted in Australia, and, so far, has found favor in fourteen states in this country.

Many defects have developed, however, and, by some students, it is believed to come far from accomplishing its purpose, because, among other reasons, it is a more expensive method than the older one (by deed), and, more particularly, because the same degree of security, in being allowed to remain in peaceful possession of one's property transferred in this way, is not attained.