Subject: AW: Digital registration of rights in land
From: "Helmut Auer"
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 12:18:01 +0200
To: 'Erik Røsæg'

Dear Mr Røsæg,

as former CIO of the Federal Ministry of Justice (Austria) and responsible
for the transition of our old paper bound Land Book to IT in the 1980ies I
will try to give you some answers:

Yes we do but I have to explain some basics for your understanding
- Rule #1: Real rights are created only by intabulation, that’s registering
in our Land Book.
- Rule #2: Intabulation is triggered by an application filed at the district
- Rule #3: Intabulation is based on a title (without exception), that's a
document like contract, court decision, decree by governmental body etc.
- Rule #4: The court has to get the original of the title (attached to the
application) for controlling purposes. A copy of the title is stored (in
former times in a paper archive at the court, now in an electronic archive
in our Federal Computing Centre). 
- Rule #5: Persons getting and loosing real rights must be authentificated,
in case of legal persons like limited or stock company the responsible
- Rule #6: Authentification is done by a notary or a specialized court
department at the district court checking the person's identity, controlling
that the identified person is signing the document by him/herself and
supplementing the document with a statement about the correct signing and
fixing this with stamp and signature.
- Rule #7: Different to Germany there is no need to use the help of a notary
or a lawyer to produce the contract or file the application.
- Rule #8: Also different to Germany everybody is allowed to inspect the
Land Book and to get all data stored in the Land Book about a specific real
property - at the court and online (no restriction, no privacy; only search
by name of owner is restricted and will be therefore not available in
EULIS/see "").
- Fact #1: 100% of Austrian land is registered.
- Fact #2: Cadastre and Land Book are separated (Surveying Office - District
Court) but the intersecting data of both are always identical (today because
we use only one data base for both systems).

The Austrian justice system uses (since ever) a centralized computer centre
("Bundesrechenzentrum", abbr. BRZ = Federal Computer Centre resorting to the
Ministry of Finance) and a network of its own connecting every court to this
centre. So in principle the courts use PCs only as terminals. Today the
local PCs use Java-clients for managing data input and output to the
centralized modern relational data bases. 

Ca 1990 the Austrian justice system introduced the "Elektronischen
Rechtsverkehr - ERV", usually translated as Electronic Data Interchange
between professionals and the courts. Lawyers, notaries, governmental
bodies, social security agencies et al. were enabled to file their
applications electronically sending a form online to BRZ where an electronic
docket system handled the input and opened the access for the court in
charge of the specific proceedings. Till 2009 the Land Book wasn't part of
the ERV because of the problematic of the authentification of the

ERV started slowly but is a big success: Today about 80% of all civil
litigations and about 90% of all enforcement cases are filed electronically.
Also writs, decisions and other documents of the court are sent back
electronically to the members of ERV.

To overcome the authentication problem and the problem of the original
document (an electronic copy is never an "original") the idea of secure
official archives was developed (that's more an legal solution than a
- Rule #9: Documents stored in such an official archive are considered as
originals. Copies of such documents are considered as originals if the owner
of the document enables the person (court, governmental body etc) who should
get the original document to fetch the copy out of the archive.

Such archives are kept by the justice system, by the board of the notaries,
by the board of the lawyers, by the association of licensed surveyors. So
for example authentification is done in the following way:
- At the notaries office the parties sign the paper contract in conventional
- The authentificated contract is scanned and stored in the archive of the
notaries. (see following note 1)
- The application is filed electronically stating the access code of the
- The IT-system at BRZ uses the access code to fetch the document and the
rest of information of the application to prepare the intabulation.
- The "Rechtspfleger" (registrator) at the proper district court checks all
data and documents and - if all OK - executes the intabulation.
- This triggers the electronic production of the court decision which
document is sent back to the applicant electronically.

Note 1: The contract is produced by means of word processing - so exists
already in electronic form. From a technical point of view this document
could be signed electronically at the screen by the parties and the notary.
But the public isn't prepared for that (the number of persons enabled for
electronic signature is very low) and psychological restraints hinder
persons to check and sign such documents only on the screen.

The first step of archiving originals is functioning already; the second
step of using electronic forms for application to the Land Book will be
introduced next year. For explanation: The Land Book is late in the
transition to ERV in comparison to all other court procedures because of the
fact that at the moment the data base of the Land Book originates from 1975
(using IBM-assembler and PL/I). A redesign project is running; migration
from old to new will take place at the end of the year.

Hope that you get an idea what is going on in Austria. If you need more and
more detailed information I can try to answer your questions, can send you
the legal basis (only in German) and the name of some other contact person. 

Best regards

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Erik Røsæg [] 
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 04. Juni 2009 15:21
Betreff: Digital registration of rights in land

Dear Mr Auer,

The Norwegian Ministry of Justice has asked me to chair a working group
on digital registration of rights in land. We have already a quite well
functioning land registry. The registry itself is available on line, and
the underlying documents are to some extent scanned and filed as digital
records. The next step would be to open the way for digitally signed
electronic records to replace paper documents altogether, so that, e.g.,
title deeds and mortgage documents will be abolished altogether.

I write to you because I wonder whether you have done something similar.
In that case, I would very much like to learn from your experience.
Could you please provide the relevant information or references?

Yours sincerely,
Erik Røsæg

-- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Professor Erik Røsæg (Rosaeg) Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law University of Oslo POB 6706 St. Olavs plass N-0130 Oslo, Norway Visiting address: Room 403, St Olavs gt 23 (entrance from Pilestredet) Tel: (+47) 2285 9752 - (+47) 4800 2979 Fax: (+47) 9476 0189 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++