This week I am travelling to Baku in Azerbaijan to talk at a conference hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) and the World Bank.
We will be exploring benchmarking of land administration systems. We’ll also discuss implementing a land government assessment framework across the UNECE region.
A major part of my work in HM Land Registry’s International Unit is to work with several international committees to develop global land policy and to share best practice.
One such committee is the UNECE Working Party on Land Administration. As HM Land Registry’s representative on this working party, I try to promote best land registration practice around the region. Sometimes this is our own best practice – such as our work to build a digital land registration system or our open data work. Sometimes I present a case study about another country.
In Baku, I will be talking about land recording in the United States of America. There is a wealth of historical, legal and procedural information we can take from the USA. This is in part due to the size and diversity of its real estate market. We can learn a lot from their example to help us develop better land registration practice in Europe.
I’ll discuss how individual state customs and laws helped to define the current legal system in the United States. The 50 states maintain different land ownership systems and title insurance is commonly used in the USA. This is unlike many other jurisdictions in the UNECE region.
This is just one of the international committees I will have contributed to by the end of the year. I have recently come back from meeting with my colleagues at European Land Information Service (EULIS) to discuss EU proposals to develop a portal through which EU citizens will be able to inspect land records online.
Early next month I will be attending a conference in London hosted by European Land Registry Association (ELRA) – an organisation whose president is HM Land Registry’s Director of Legal Services Alasdair Lewis. We will be discussing the conclusion of a successful project which aims to help facilitate conveyancing across the European Union. I’ll write more about this next month.