Sir Robert Torrens originated the system of land registration known today all over the world as the Torrens System. As the Commissioner of Customs in South Australia, Torrens was inspired by the facility with which ships or undivided share therein were negotiated and transferred in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Acts. Becoming a register of deeds, he advised a scheme of registration of title that improved on the old system. When he became a member of South Australia's First Colonial Ministry, he introduced in the parliament a bill providing for the adoption of his scheme of land registration. The measure was passed and came to be known as "Torrens System". On November 6, 1902, the Philippine Commission enacted Act 496, known as Land Registration Law. This provided for the creation of the Court of Land Registration (CLR), the office of the Registers of Deeds and of the institution in this country of the Torrens System of registration whereby real estate ownership may be judicially confirmed and recorded in the archives of the government. However, the system actually took effect on February 1, 1903. Five judges were appointed by the Governor-General with the advice and consent of the Philippine Commission. One judge was designated Judge of Court; the rest were assigned Associate Judges. Other members of the court were a clerk and assistant clerk, both appointed by the Attorney General with the approval of the Secretary of Finance and Justice. Along with the court were established the Registries of Deeds.
Later, the Court of Land Registration, because of Act No. 2374, was given over the Court of First Instance and a new office was established - the General Land Registration Office. On June 17, 1954, Republic Act No. 1151 abolished the GLRO and created in its stead the Land Registration Commissions (LRC). The Commissioner of Land Registration took over the powers and functions of the GLRO, including those of the judge of the fourth branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila. The LRC worked under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, and was in direct control of the Registers of Deeds (RDs) as well as the Clerks of Court of First Instance in land registration cases. It was then that registry of deeds was established in every city and every province and a branch registry was put up wherever else possible at the time. On February 9, 1981, the President of the Philippines issued Executive Order No.649 reorganizing the LRC into the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NLTDRA).This agency operated under the administrative auspices of the then Ministry of Justice, and extended effective assistance to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, the Land Bank of the Philippines, and other agencies in line with the Land Reform Program. In a Presidential Memorandum Circular of September 30, 1988, the NLTDRA was changed into the Land Registration Authority. This was in line Executive Order No. 292 dated July 25, 1987, instituting the Administrative Code of 1987, which took effect on November 23, 1989.The Authority has grown through the years. It now has 2500 employees nationwide. And it has consistently increased its revenues though its registries of deeds for the past five years. Many new methods and techniques have been developed by the administration in the defense of the landowner. Time has not stymied the purpose of the agency, but has honored its sense of duty to that of a fine new razor. In truth the authority is more active than ever, willing and able to be defend the integrity of the Torrens system in the Philippines for the benefit of the landowner...the Filipino!!!