Scanning project implementation of the land registry books

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January 1, 2013 /

Fikret Mehovic
Advisor to de President of the Sarajevo Court

Land registers are public registers which are maintained at the municipal courts level, and the Land Registry Office of the Municipal Court Sarajevo is one of the departments within the Municipal Court Sarajevo. The jurisdiction of the Municipal Court Sarajevo belongs to a total of 9 political municipalities, or a total of 76 cadastral municipalities, of which the cadastral municipality of Sarajevo is consisted of 136 quarters.

Existing records of property and rights to property in the land registry office is dating from the Austro-Hungarian period.

Since the Berlin Congress in 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Empire took over control of Bosnia. Based on the Land Registry Act from 1884, land registry of Bosnia was established, based on the cadastral survey and cadastral land maps. Substance of the land rights is regulated by the Property Registration Ordinance and the land administration in 1930, as well as the law of the land subtraction and division in 1931. It was applied, with certain additions until land registry act of F BIH came into force in 2003 and the Rules of Procedure in land matters.

The Austro-Hungarian system of recording real estates and real rights on real estates was taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a system composed by real estates, not by the owners. The establishment of land registration in Bosnia and Herzegovina started in 1886.

The property has been established dual records:

  • Land registry, property and rights to these properties
  • Cadastre-possession status

Land registers are public books into which the property and rights to real estates In the land registry books the ownership and other real estates, information about the owner and charges are registrated.

Land registers are public registers which are consisted of data of properties, real and some contractual rights on these properties. Publicity of these registers is that the information is accessible to everyone. Everyone, regardless of the legal interest, may seek access to the data, both from the land registry, and data from the document collections.

Land Registry is composed of:

  • Main book
  • Collections of documents and
  • Auxiliary registers

The Main Book is kept by the system of real film, or the estate. The main book is consisted of data of properties located in a municipality cadastre and belongs to a certain land registry office. The Main Book is consisted of sections A, B and C. The section A is a list which is closer to describing the property (cadastral number parcel, the name and size). In the section B, there is data about the owner, co-owner of a property list, and certain restrictions that apply to a person of the owner (minority, guardianship, bankruptcy proceedings). In the section C, there is right to burden the property. A collection of documents is used for registration into the main book Auxiliary registry is consisted of registry of owners, registry of parcels and plots.

Since the introduction of the use of the land register, any changes to the property, such as size, owner, and similar changes were entered in the books, which have in recent years ran manually. This way considerably slowed down the work in the land department, and it was more difficult for citizens to access and insight into the data entered in the land register.

At the same time the books, with repeated use, substantially damaged, although constantly it was exercised their protection and preservation.

In the majority of property owners in the previous period there was a habit and duty to report the contract in the land register, as the contracts (sales) and includes the settlement of certain obligations towards the state.

The privatization of dwellings covered by restitution in the former state-owned
system, and which were not entered in the land register, provided the establishment and conduct of the Book of Deposited Contracts.

The book of deposited contracts is an integral part of the Land Office.

Land registration reforms in recent years has made technical progress that enables the modern, faster and easier access to information, and access to information via the Internet, which contributes to legal certainty, and it creates a sense of obligation to report the contract, while also greatly facilitates the work of the Land Registry Office.

The Land Registry Office of the Municipal Court Sarajevo uses software called Laris (Registry Land Information System). Laris can be used by a very large number of connected users at the same time.

The implementation of land reforms in the department of this court made the IT education of employees of land registry clerks were important part of our job.

Transition to electronic form land administration in the new program was enrolled last current state of data. Data which used to be manually kept in the land registers, now are being held in digital form, and they are up to date and accurate to the extent that these data were correct during manually way of work of the Land Registry.

Simultaneously, the transition to an electronic form of land administration, has not led to a total loss of manual work in the Land Registry, and thus to further impact on the quality and efficiency of the work, and it would contribute to a faster fulfillment of the requirements of our citizens. Land books are still being used, not in all the time, but for certain requests we still require their use.

Project for scanning of old land books and collections of documents is carriedout in the Land Registry Office of the Municipal Court Sarajevo on 30 June 2011, with the support of the Kingdom of Spain.

Kingdom of Spain provided the software application and training of land registry clerks.
Work on the scanning was performed by employees of the Land Office, and this implies that all employees were trained and involved in the project, and thus contributes to the success of the project.

During the visit of the Spanish Land Registry Officers, they presented the use of application software to our IT department, in order to provide faster and more efficient implementation of the program.

Spanish Land Registry Officers are assisting us for more information and help us in resolve of the problems encountered in the work. We communicate with the owner of the licensee’s program through our Spanish colleagues.

The software is under license agreement with Spanish firm Indra, which is tailored to the needs of Bosnian territory and our land registry office needs. It is the latest program of digitization of land records in Europe.

The program is consisted of following two parts:

  • Index
  • Clio

Index represents a part of the program used for indexing and verification of scanned items and land registry files.

Clio serves for searches and access to scanned and verified land-links and collections of documents.

The program is tailored to the needs of our Land Registry Office and it is consisted of two types of scanning instruments:

  • Photo machine or scanner, which scans the land books and parts of the collection of documents that can not be scanned by a scanner intended to scan A4 size paper such as elaborates on condominium.
  • Scanning of cases, which means scanning of completed cases and collection of documents.Scanning of the land registry books and documents demands specific activities:
  • Preparation of land records and documents for scanning;
  • Scanning of the land books and documents;
  • Indexing, verification of land registry files or documents;
  • Control of the quality of scanned documents;
  • Uploading date to a program that performs searching.

Court employees are doing the scanning operations, it implies that all employees are trained and involved in the project, and thus contributes to the success of the project, as well as achieving high quality standards.

For the purposes of implementation of this project, the Spanish government donated to the Municipal Court Sarajevo two computers, one camera and one scanner.

In an effort to speed up the project, not disturbing the quality of the work, the court bought an additional camera. However, the software and the camera are is under one year license agreement with the company Indra. It is necessary to extend the license agreement with Indra.

The realization of the scanning project is being performed simultaneously in following four phases:

  • Scanning by taking picture
  • Scanning of the document collections
  • Scanning of notarial documents
  • Indexing

Land registry books are damaged by long continuous use, and the number of books scanned during the work day differs from the proposed standards. Despite this problem, we achieved significant results, because in the past period cadastral land registry books of the municipality of Sarajevo were scanned. It’s a total of 136 quarters, which were the oldest and most complex for scanning.

At the same time, registry of parcels and owners is being done. For scanning of document collections are currently being used only two scanners, which significantly slow down the whole process. The scanning of the document collections is being realized in the following two stages:

  • Scanning of the completed cases
  • Indexing of the scanned cases.

In scanning of the document collections, notary documents are causing certain problems (sales contract, agreements establishing liens, etc.), considering that they were bound documents and they can not be separated. They have to be scanned in a special way which further slows down the scanning process, and given that the land office has only one scanner, it makes scanning of these documents very difficult.

Indexing is done in a separate part of the program, which includes verification of data from scanned books. Upon completion of the scanning in form of taking picture of land registry books from a specific cadastral municipality, it is necessary to mark the land elements and an electronic entry and make integration of a land registry excerpt, which has to contain sections A, B and C with all entries.

Special attention must be paid to the quality of work performed, because by the completion of the project land registry books will be fully withdrawn from use.

The effectiveness of the work is being achieved by the constant surveillance of the land registry officers. Officers, who perform indexing of land entries, simultaneously control the quality of scanned land registry files. The work requires at least 5-6 people for every day operations.

Having in mind that old and damaged books need special attention, especially because the old registration, it is necessary to ensure their full photographing, but also the possibility that all the entries are clearly visual for searching.

Books must be provided special protection, because they represent particular historical value, and one of the project goals is their protection.

It is necessary to ensure that the land registry book are kept in a secure place, separate from the document collections. They must be protected from humidity, heat and other adverse effects.

Upon completion of the project the books will be archived.

Data must be protected in electronic management of the land registry books.

By linking the historic part of land registration, there will be a comprehensive understanding of the historical material of all property registrations in the Land Register. At the same time the system is to create an archive of documents on which the competent court allowed the completed registration. Scanning is done on the base of submission of documents for registration.

The process is, by its nature, complex and represents a significant reform of land registration process.

The total number of Land Registry books in the Municipal Court Sarajevo is 3769 old land books and 1183 books of deposited contracts, totaling to 4952 books. Currently, in the Land Office there is a collection of documents dating from 1995. There were 386 666 cases, on November 1, 2011. A collection of documents are kept permanently, and to its protection requires special conditions of placing and storage, for their protection against damages, destruction and alienation. Given that these original documents are permanent requirements of the parties for copying and insights into a collection of documents.

This will allow additional legal certainty to the real estate market by providing complete information about the property and rights to real estates. By the implementation of the project, it will be further improvements will be achieved, such as that the land registry administration is becoming safer and based on legal and technical achievements.

The advantage of this project is that the project of land registry books scanning is being done in the premises of the land registry office where there is unimpeded access to books.

The aim of the project

The project aims to facilitate access to land records and completed cases.

By digitizing it will be improved working conditions in the land registry office, while also contributing to the facilitation of access and insight into all of the population changes since the establishment of land registry and the transition to electronic control occurred in the land register.

Since this is a project that involves permanent withdrawal from use of the land registry books, it needs a special care while implementing it. Specifically, these are books that are damaged, because of long term use, and they demand extra attention during the project implementation.
So far, the books of the Sarajevo cadastre municipality were scanned. It is a total of 136 municipalities and cadastral municipality Dolac, which represents 1/3 of the total number of land registry books.

All this has already significantly improved and speeded up resolve of the requirements of the population.

For example: For issuing of full description of a property, it used to take too much time, because its issuing meant manual writing of all entries and changes of certain property. By the implementation of the project, the whole process of issuing of full description of a property will be done in a short period of time, also it will enable better work efficiency, impact on productivity and it will contribute to improving of the work conditions.

The project aims to provide an orderly system of land registry books, improve quality and efficiency of services, which will enable safe real estate transactions.

One of the aims of the project is also to create a unique database of all changes starting from the beginning of the project implementation as well as going to the creation of the land registry system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the fact that the project has not been fully completed, it can be concluded that its implementation started successfully.