The European Land Registry Association, ELRA, is an international non-profit organisation (AISBL: Association internationale sans but lucratif).
Mission and primary purpose
The mission and primary purpose of the European Land Registry Association may be described as: “the development and understanding of the role of land registration in real property and capital markets”.
ELRA wants to promote a mutual understanding of land registers, to help create an open and secure Europe, serving and protecting citizens.
We believe that Land Registries are a fundamental pillar of legal certainty and ELRA is committed to ensuring the incorporation of this principal into Community Law.
Land registration systems operate throughout the world as the legal basis for recording with certainty ownership and other legal rights in and over land. Such systems provide the machinery for confident property transfer, the operation of secure mortgage markets and protection for the citizen. Effective land registration systems are fundamental to successful market economies, providing confidence for private ownership and property transfer.
Land registration systems reflect the legal traditions of the territory in which they operate and therefore vary from place to place. In some territories land registries register and, on behalf of the state, guarantee legal title, whereas in other territories land registries register deeds and do not purport to guarantee the deeds’ validity. However in every jurisdiction the land registry is the official organisation responsible for operating the land registration system on behalf of the state. There can only be one official land registry for each territory.
Land registries determine property rights and, to be effective, their decisions need to be recognised by the courts. This means that, like the courts, although land registries act on behalf of the state, they must be independent of it. The issues that land registries need to consider typically have a high legal content and, for land registries to be effective, their staff must be suitably trained and qualified.
Most states have, in addition to a land registry, a mapping agency and a cadastre. The functions of the land registry, mapping agency and cadastre are complementary but different. Mapping agencies exist to record topography whilst the cadastre’s primary purpose is fiscal. Some countries have found it administratively convenient to combine the functions in a single organisation.
In recent years technology has changed how the information contained in land registers is held, updated and published. Although new technology does not alter the core purpose of land registries, it is providing them with new opportunities.
ELRA was created in 2004 by a group of Land Registry organisations, supported by Mr. Antonio Vitorino, the former Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner.
ELRA started off with 12 members; it now has 33 organizations representing the Land Registries of 26 European countries and is still growing.
To date, ELRA’s most important achievement has undoubtedly been its recognition by the European Commission and the European Parliament as the association representing land registries in the European Union.
ELRA is fully committed working on behalf of Land Registries in Europe and in cooperating with the EU institutions.
ELRA has received European Commission backing within the framework of the Civil Justice programme to finance the association itself, Operating Grants, and to develop two main projects; CROBECO I and II and the IMOLA project.
CROBECO concerns cross border registration in foreign Land Registers. It introduces an alternative conceyancing process for foreign buyers of real estate. The framework for such a process with tools to support foreign conveyancers is described in a Cross Border Conveyancing Reference Framework (CCRF).
IMOLA aims to produce a model for standardized land registry output, to increase the accessibility and transparency of land registry information and to facilitate the registration of cross-border documents.
Role of Land Registries
The rules governing the Land Registration Systems are very closely related to those laws governing the property and real estate rights in every country. These rights are rooted in the tradition of every system which therefore explains the assertion of the European treaties that “Community law does not prejudge the Property System in every State”.
European Role of Land Registries
However, the European role of Land Registration Systems cannot be ignored. They are a fundamental tool for the effective exercise of basic community freedoms, such as freedom of movement of people and capital and freedom of establishment. Through judicial cooperation in the EU they provide a secure playing field in this matter when immovable is involved and play a significant part in the creation of a real European mortgage market. ELRA provides conditions for profitable cooperation with the European institutions.
This collaboration with the EU has been the main achievement of the Association to date and this has resulted in several grants from DG Justice to co-finance its activities.
ELRA is composed of the following bodies:
- Made up by all full members, observer members and partners of the organization
- The supreme body of ELRA
- Names the Board of Directors
- It is chaired by the President of the Board
- General Meetings at least once a year
- Each full member has the right to be assisted at General Assemblies and be represented by one or more members
- Each full member is entitled to one equal vote at the General Assemblies
- Decisions are adopted by a majority of two/thirds of the votes expressed
- Elected for a two year term.
- Representative, spokesperson
- Initiative and organisational tasks
- Execution of decisions
- Current President: Mr. Jan Moerkerke
- Elected for a two years term.
- Drafts the Minutes of Agreements
- Keep the organization’s Archives
- Submit legally required documents
- Current Secretary General: Ms. Nuria Raga
- Elected for a two years term.
- Keep de books up to date
- File income tax returns
- Fulfill financial obligations
- Current Treasurer: Ms Ioanna Tzinieri