West Maui Land Court Archive

About Land Court

In Hawai'i, private landownership was introduced at the suggestion of foreign advisors to King Kamehameha III as a way to avoid a loss of soveriegnty to foreign powers. The process was not uniform or precise and as the century came to a close, the historical consequences of these efforts were complicated and messy and not conducive to then contemporary lending practices.

After the overthrow, the territorial government introduced a modified version of the Torren land system in 1905. Named after the Australian legislator who won its passage in Australia, the Torrens land system sought to make the government a guarantor of the title of land through the use of certificates of title and registration of transfers.

With the standardization of title searching methods, title insurance and computerization of recording of land transfers, and the complications (and consequent delays) surrounding the registration and transferring of condominium and timeshare interests, Land Court's popularity in Hawai'i has waned.

Historic land court applications provide us and future generations important information regarding history and genealogies.