Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Indefeasible Definition:

A right or title in property that cannot be made void, defeated or canceled by any past event, error or omission in the title.

Related Terms: Fee Simple, Title

Also indefeasible title.

Often used in land titles to describe ownership. For example:

  •  "... full, absolute and indefeasible fee simple."

In 2000, Justice Epstein of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice adopted these words in Durrani v. Augier:

"The philosophy of a land titles system embodies three principles; namely, the mirror principle, where the register is a perfect mirror of the state of title, the curtain principle, which holds that a purchaser need not investigate the history of past dealings with the land, or search behind the title as depicted on the register, and the insurance principle, where the state guarantees the accuracy of the register and compensates any person who suffers loss as the result of an inaccuracy. These principles form the doctrine of indefeasibility of title and is the essence of the land titles system.

fun image of indefeasible title"Indefeasibility of title has been defined as a convenient description of the immunity from attack by adverse claim to the land or interest in respect of which he is registered, which a registered proprietor enjoys.

"This conception is central in the system of registration. It does not involve the registered proprietor being protected against any claim whatsoever .... there are provisions by which the entry on which he relies may be cancelled or corrected, or he may be exposed to claims in personam. These are matters not to be overlooked when a total description of his rights is required.

"But as registered proprietor, and while he remains such, no adverse claim (except as specifically admitted) may be brought against him."

For example, certificates of title issued under a Torrens land titles system is said to be "indefeasible" because the government warrants that no interest burdens the title other than those on the certificate.

In Moore v Wheadon, Justice Davison of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court noted:

"The word indefeasible ... renders the conveyance incapable of being set aside."

In 2012, Justice Erb of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, in Power v Goodram:

"(T)he information registered on title is considered to be accurate and generally a person's interest in land is not subject to any competing claims which have not been registered on title. That is to say, if a party is a bona fide purchaser title is considered to be indefeasible. This principle is important because it permits property owners and property purchasers to rely on title as an accurate reflection of the state of any claims on a specific titled property....

"The principle of indefeasibility is not absolute, however, and several exceptions to the principle exist (eg. adverse possession)...."

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