Deeds Registration Act
- Commenced on 31 March 1916
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited for all purposes as the Deeds Registration Act.
2. SavingAll documents affecting land registered under the Registration of Documents Ordinance, 1910 (now repealed) or under any previous regulation shall be deemed to be registered under this Act.[12 of 1910]
3. InterpretationIn this Act unless the context otherwise requires—“Deeds Registrar” means the Registrar General or such other person as the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, appoint to be Deeds Registrar for the purpose of this Act;“Document” includes deeds and all instruments m tenting which pass any interest in land or affecting land and in the case of a will means the probate of a will sealed in Malawi or letters of administration with will annexed sealed in Malawi;“Deeds Registry File” shall consist of documents filed in chronological order in the archives of the Deeds Registry.
4. Official seal
5. Power to sueThe Deeds Registrar may sue and be sued by his official title.
6. Compulsory registration of documentsFrom and after the commencement of this Act all deeds, conveyances, wills and instruments in writing whether under seal or not whereby any land or interest in or affecting land other than land registered in accordance with the Registered Land Act, may be affected at law or in equity whether executed prior or subsequent to the date of this Act are subject to compulsory registration in the Deeds Registry Office:Provided that the Minister designated for the purpose of this section by the President may, in such areas and in respect of such leases or classes of leases or other instruments relating to land tenancy as he may specify by notice published in the Gazette, exempt such leases, classes of leases or other instruments from the requirement of registration under this section.[Cap. 58:01][25 of 1968]
7. Time for presenting documents for registration
8. Charges on land take priority according to date of registrationAll charges upon land or any interest in land whether by way of mortgage or otherwise and whether equitable or otherwise and all transfers, assignments or leases of land shall take priority according to the date of registration.All priorities given by this Act shall have full effect in all courts except in cases of actual fraud and all persons claiming thereunder any legal or equitable interests shall be entitled to corresponding priorities and no person shall lose any such priority merely in consequence of his having been affected with actual or constructive notice of a prior unregistered document except in cases of actual fraud.
9. Holder of mortgage entitled to certificate of registrationThe holder of a mortgage or charge shall be entitled on demand to receive a certificate of registration on payment of the prescribed fees.
10. Registration of recognizanceA recognizance or bond entered into by order of the High Court may be registered as a charge on land or any interest in land on lodgment of a certificate from the Registrar of the High Court that such recognizance or bond has been duly filed.
11. Registration of lis pendensA lis pendens to affect land or interest therein may be registered as a charge against the same on production of evidence of the institution of any proceedings in the High Court affecting the land or interest. Such evidence shall consist of the certificate of the Registrar of the High Court or any order of the High Court showing the institution of such proceedings.
12. Cancellation of registrationA recognizance, bond or lis pendens may be cancelled in the Register on the lodgment of a certificate from the Registry of the High Court showing that the same has been vacated.
13. Registration definedRegistration shall consist—
14. Power of attorneyIf the instrument presented for registration has been executed under power of attorney the power of attorney or an office copy thereof shall be produced to the Registrar and in cases not falling within section 8 and 9 of the Conveyancing Act, 1882, of the United Kingdom evidence (by the statutory declaration of the attorney or otherwise) sufficient to satisfy the Registrar that the principal was alive at the time of execution of the instrument and that the power was then unrevoked shall also be produced.[45 & 46 Viet.,][Cap. 39]
15. Registration of map accompanying documentWhen a map or plan is comprised in or annexed to any document a true copy of such map or plan shall be filed together with the copy of the document to which it refers.
16. Persons to present documents for registration
17. Description of parcels
18. Documents in foreign languageIf any document presented for registration be not in the English language it must be accompanied by a translation in English together with the requisite number of copies in English duly certified to the satisfaction of the Deeds Registrar and also by a true copy of the original document.
19. Fees and duties to be paid before registrationThe Deeds Registrar shall refuse to register any document until he is satisfied that all Government duties and fees have been paid in respect thereof or in respect of the transaction or series of transactions of which the document forms a record in whole or in part if any such duties or fees are eligible.
20. Right of Registrar to refuse documents
21. Registrar to refuse documents executed by companies in certain circumstances
22. Registration not to cure defect or confer validityRegistration shall not cure any defect in any document registered or confer upon it any validity which it would not otherwise have had except in so far as provided in this Act.
23. Copy documents to be numbered and filed in order of lodgmentThe Deeds Registrar shall number every copy of documents filed consecutively entering the time of the day and the day of the month and the year when it is registered and shall file the copies in the order in which the documents are received by him.
24. Endorsed memorandum prima facie proof of registration
25. Indemnity of Deeds RegistrarThe Deeds Registrar shall not nor shall any person acting under any order or general Rule made in pursuance of this Act be liable to any action, suit or proceedings for or in respect of any act or matter bona fide done or omitted to be done in the exercise or supposed exercise of the powers of this Act or any order or general Rule made in pursuance of this Act.
26. Amendment of RegisterWhere any person alleges that any error or omission, has been made in the Register or that any entry or omission therein has been procured by fraud or mistake the Deeds Registrar shall if he shall consider such allegation satisfactorily proved correct such error or omission or entry as aforesaid.
27. Appeal and reference to the CourtIf the Registrar shall refuse to correct any error, omission or entry in pursuance of an application under the last preceding section any person aggrieved by such refusal may apply to the Court for an order that the Register be rectified and the Court may make an order for the rectification of the Register in such manner as it shall direct.
28. Effect of non-registrationThe non-registration of a document the registration whereof is compulsory according to this Act will render such document null and void.
29. Penalties for fraudIf any person commits any of the following offences—
30. Saving of obligation to make discoveryNothing in this Act shall entitle any person to refuse to make a complete discovery in any legal proceedings or to answer any question or interrogatory in any civil proceedings but no such discovery or answer shall be admissible in evidence against that person in any criminal proceeding under this Act.
31. Penalty for non-registration of documentsAny person wilfully or negligently failing to register any document which is subject to compulsory registration under this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty of K100 or on information to a penalty of K200.
32. Certified copy admissible as evidence of contents of lost or destroyed documentIn the event of the loss or destruction of any document registered under this or any previous Act or regulation a copy certified to be a true copy under the hand of the Deeds Registrar shall be admissible in evidence of its contents in all Courts of Justice in Malawi saving all just and lawful exceptions.
33. Production of filed document in CourtWhere the production in court is required of any filed documents an official of the Registry will attend with the document on receipt of an application made to that effect accompanied by payment of the prescribed fee and expenses if any.
34. SearchSubject to such directions as the Deeds Registrar may think proper any person is entitled on payment of the prescribed fees to search the indexes and registers at the office of the Registrar and to have a certified copy of any entry in the Registers and Records in the custody of the Registrar or an official search against index of names but no document filed in the office of the Registrar shall be permitted to be taken therefrom.
35. Fees payable
36. Power of Minister to make RulesThe Minister may from time to time make Rules for the better carrying into effect of this Act.Such Rules may provide a penalty not exceeding K10 recoverable on summary conviction before a magistrate for any breach thereof.
History of this document
31 December 2014 this version
31 March 1916