Thursday, February 22, 2024

Registration of Deeds

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By: Juliana Twumwaa Obeng

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The writer

Going through my emails, I spotted an email from a reader weeks ago who was seeking answers to registration of deeds. He patiently waited for a response. Time passed, and the email got lost in a busy inbox. However, fate intervened, and I stumbled upon it once more. Realizing the unfinished task, I was determined to honour the promise made to Uncle Nying.

In this article, I embarked on a journey to explore the deeds Registry of the Registrar General’s Department of the Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice of The Gambia. This vital institution safeguarded property rights and facilitated transactions.

Introduction

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In the world of legal jargon, few terms are as significant and multifaceted as the “deed.” Often associated with land and property transactions, a deed is a powerful document that conveys rights, obligations, and ownership from one party to another. Let’s delve into the depths of this concept and explore the different types of deeds that shape the legal landscape.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a deed is a written instrument that is signed, sealed, and delivered by one person to another. Its purpose is to transfer land tenements, or hereditaments, typically accompanied by the creation of a binding obligation. In essence, a deed is a tangible representation of a transaction involving property.

Types of Deeds

Deed Indenture

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The deed indenture is a fundamental type of deed executed by two or more parties. It serves as an essential component in transactions relating to land that involve multiple parties. This type of deed encapsulates the terms and conditions of the agreement, facilitating the transfer of property rights and outlining the responsibilities of each party involved.

Deed Poll

In contrast to the deed indenture, a deed poll is usually made and executed by a single person. This unique type of deed is addressed to the entire world, signaling a change of name or conferring a Power of Attorney. Its purpose is to publicly declare and legally recognize a decision or intention made by an individual.

Supplemental Deed

As the name suggests, a supplemental deed functions as a modification to an existing deed. It references the original deed and specifically highlights the paragraphs or provisions it seeks to amend. This type of deed allows parties to modify or clarify certain aspects of an agreement without entirely invalidating the original deed.

The Deeds Registry is one of the divisions within the Registrar General’s Department of the Attorney General’s Chambers, which falls under the Ministry of Justice of The Gambia. The Deeds Registry is responsible for the registration and oversight of various legal documents related to property, partnerships, intellectual property, and other transactions. Here are some key points about the Deeds Registry:

Functions

The Deeds Registry handles the registration and safekeeping of important legal documents related to property transactions, such as leases, assignments, conveyances, mortgages, caveats, and memorandum of deposits. It also deals with documents related to partnerships, intellectual property, and other legal instruments like power of attorney, vesting deeds, lease contracts, deed of rectification, deed of gift, and searches.

The primary purpose of the Deeds Registry is to provide an official record of the existence, ownership, and encumbrances (such as mortgages or liens) on properties or other legal transactions. Registering these documents helps establish legal certainty, protect property rights, and facilitate transactions.

 

Registration Process

When individuals or organizations have a document that falls within the purview of the Deeds Registry, they submit it to the office along with the required fees. Trained personnel review the documents, ensure their compliance with legal requirements, and enter the details into the registry. The document is then assigned a unique registration number and filed for future reference.

Fees

The Deeds Registry charges specific fees for the registration of different types of deeds and related services. The fees mentioned in your query include D1,500 for leases, assignments, conveyances, mortgages, caveats, memorandum of deposit, deed of release, partnership deed, and deed of rectification. Transfer of shares and vesting deed registration costs D1,500 as well. Power of attorney and lease contracts have a fee of D1,000, while the registration of a deed of gift costs D1,500. Finally, a search fee is charged at D700. It’s worth noting that these fee amounts and services may be subject to change over time. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is recommended to contact the Registrar General’s Department directly or consult the official website or relevant legal resources in The Gambia.

Why register deeds?

Preserving Ownership and Establishing Rights

Deed registration serves as a crucial mechanism for preserving ownership and establishing legal rights over property. Through the act of registration, a deed is officially recorded and acknowledged by the appropriate authority, creating a publicly accessible record of ownership. This process not only protects the rightful owner’s interests but also acts as a deterrent against fraudulent claims or disputes. These includes deed of gift; A gift deed is a legal document that documents the act of donating a gift and is signed by the donor (the person making the gift) and the donee (person receiving the gift).  It must also be noted that a gift deed is only effective after it has been registered.

Enhancing Legal Certainty and Transparency

The registration of deeds contributes to the overall legal certainty and transparency of property transactions. By entering the details of a deed into an official registry, it becomes a matter of public record, accessible to interested parties and future potential buyers. This transparency fosters confidence and trust in the market, providing a clear framework for property transactions and reducing the risk of conflicting claims.

Facilitating Secure Transactions and Financing

Registered deeds play a pivotal role in facilitating secure property transactions and enabling financing opportunities. When a deed is registered, it establishes a chain of title, demonstrating a clear lineage of ownership. This chain of title is invaluable for potential buyers and lenders, as it provides assurance regarding the property’s legitimacy and the absence of encumbrances. Lenders often require a registered deed as collateral when extending loans, adding an additional layer of security.

Resolving Disputes and Ensuring Legal Protection

In cases of property disputes or conflicting claims, registered deeds serve as essential evidence for resolving conflicts and ensuring legal protection. The public record created through registration provides a comprehensive history of transactions, enabling parties and courts to trace the rightful ownership and establish the validity of claims. This helps to expedite the resolution of disputes and protect the interests of all parties involved.

Parting words

The registration of deeds forms a critical pillar in the realm of property rights and transactions. Its significance lies in preserving ownership, enhancing legal certainty, facilitating secure financing, resolving disputes, and supporting economic development.

Understanding the importance of deed registration empowers individuals, communities, and governments to create a fair and transparent property ecosystem, ensuring the rights of all stakeholders are protected and facilitating the growth and prosperity of society as a whole.

The article celebrates Uncle Nying’s thirst for knowledge, reminding readers of the significance of curiosity. It emphasizes the importance of fulfilling promises and the joy it brings to those who seek wisdom. Thus, the article not only informs readers about the Deed Registry but also inspires them to embrace their curiosity and honor their commitments.

 The writer is a BL candidate at the Gambia Law School. She is driven by her affinity to the legal profession and relies on Precedents and Acts of the National Assembly to educate the public on bits and pieces of the application of the Laws of the Gambia and Ethics of the legal profession. These write-ups are for educational purposes only and not to serve as a substitute for Legal Advice. Email: [email protected]

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