The Cayman Islands Land Registry records the details of all land ownership information in the Cayman Islands, together with a Registry Map which indicates (and in certain cases defines) the boundaries of each individually owned parcel of land. The Registrar of Lands, Sophia Williams, is responsible for the maintenance of the Land Register and Registry Map, both of which are governed by the Registered Land Law, Registered Land Rules, and Registered Land Regulations. The Register and associated documents are public records, allowing full transparency in the ownership transactions.
The Land Registry was created as a result of the Land Adjudication process, a UK Government-sponsored initiative during the 1970s. The process replaced the registration of deeds (whereby the papers associated with land transactions were registered) with a registration of title system - whereby the land itself was registered. The most important single component of Land Registration is that the Cayman Islands Government guarantees title. Land registration brought a certainty and finality to many questions of land ownership and provided confidence in land tenure that allowed for much of the economic development of the Cayman Islands in the last three decades.
Today, the Land Registry is responsible for recording all land transactions in the three Cayman Islands. This role provides for the maintenance of an ORACLE database of some 27,000 parcel registers defining ownership and other interests in land such as Leases, Rights of Way and Mortgages / Charges. In excess of 17,500 documents were processed in 2008, with the Land Register updated on each occasion to ensure that the general public can obtain accurate and up to date Land Registry information at all times.
In addition to the Registration of land transactions, the Land Registry also undertakes the following services, for which a fee may be payable:
- Provision of Land Registry information to the general public, including copies of the Land Register and Registry Maps, and supporting documentation;
- Maintenance of an Application Book of all documents presented for Registration;
- Maintenance of an Index of Owners, allowing for the public to establish the properties owned by a particular person or entity;
- Maintenance of a Register of Powers of Attorneys appointed to act in property transactions;
- Maintenance of a Strata Plan Registry, including the By-Laws (if any) of a Strata;
- Issuance of Land and Lease Certificates (now broadly obsolete);
- Preparation and Witnessing of Land Registration Documentation.