Searching for Judgments
A lawyer who searches for judgments and identifies a judgment that is recorded against a debtor whose name is not materially different than the name of the owner or the purchaser must determine if the judgment affects the title being examined.1
(a) Non-Land Registered Parcels
A lawyer who searches for judgments on parcels that are not registered under the Land Registration Act must conduct the search against the names of:
1. each Grantee for a period of twenty years; and,
2. each owner of the parcel during the 20-year period prior to the date of the search, up to and including the registration of the conveyancing document out of that prior owner, and up to and including the date of the search for any current Grantor.2
Note: If any parties being searched are a corporation, a lawyer must only search from the date of incorporation forward, even if this is less than the prescribed period. The corporate search must also include each corporation that has been amalgamated with the corporation being searched.
If a lawyer finds a judgment which attaches or may attach to the lands under search, on migration the lawyer must include the judgment in the Application for Registration3 as a recorded instrument4.
(b) Land Registered Parcels
A lawyer who searches for judgments on parcels that are registered under the Land Registration Act must conduct the search against the names of:
1. each Grantee for a period of 20 years prior to the date of search5; and,
2. each registered owner of the parcel at the time of search from the date of the last revision of the registered ownership, including former names of such registered owner if a Form 21 has been filed since the last revision of ownership, as well as each ownerremoved by virtue of Form 21 since the last revision6.
If it is determined that one or more judgments do, or will (being against a purchaser), affect the land registered title(s) under sale, the lawyer registering the Deed must add the judgment(s) to the affected parcel register(s) along with the Deed by way of Form 247, whether or not the purchaser’s solicitor has received undertaking(s) that a Certificate of Satisfaction for the outstanding judgment(s) will be filed8.
A lawyer who undertakes to record a judgment on behalf of a client must ensure that the judgment is recorded in the desired registration district.2
Searching for Judgments
1. The requirements regarding the information judgments must include may be found in the Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, c.6, s.67 and in the Land Registry Client Resource Material under ‘Judgment Recording Requirements’.
2. Note that a judgment issued by a Court in a jurisdiction outside Nova Scotia cannot be recorded against title until it has been re-issued by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, whether under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c.388, amended by S.N.S. 2002, c.9, s.60, the Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act, S.N.S. 2001, c.30 as amended by S.N.S. 2005, c.49 or pursuant to some other authority.
3. When a Deed lists an alternate name for a Grantor or Grantee as “also known as”, all variations of the names are to be searched.
4. When searching names, a lawyer should be aware that cultural differences may mean that family names may not be an individual’s last name as listed on their identification.
5. If a judgment debtor owns real property situate in multiple registration districts, the judgment must be recorded in each applicable registration district in order to create an enforceable encumbrance against all properties.
6. A lawyer assisting with the recording of judgment should notify the client who, as between the lawyer or the client, is responsible for diarizing and attending to the renewal of the judgment.
1. Personal Property Security Act, S.N.S. 1995-96, c. 13. Note that the name standards prescribed under the Personal Property Security Act General Regulations, s. 19-22 are not applicable to searches under the Land Registration Act; Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, c. 6, s. 66(A); Creditors Relief Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 112, ss. 2 and 2A-2D. A judgment may now create a security interest in personal property; Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, c.6, ss.5 and 66(8); Land Registration Administration Regulations made under Section 94 of the Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, s. 26 (5).
2. Registry Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 392, s. 20-21, Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, c. 6, ss. 5 and 65-69. Note s. 65 (judgment roll) and s. 66(4)(e) – judgments recorded under the Land Registration Act expire in five years unless renewed.; Land Registration Administration Regulations made under Section 94 of the Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, s. 26 (5).
3. Reg. 23 (1) (h) of the Land Registration Administration Regulations made under Section 94 of the Land Registration Act S.N.S.2001, c.6.
4. If it is uncertain whether or not the judgment is in fact against a prior owner, the lawyer may include a textual qualification to that effect in the Application for Registration.
5. See Footnote 2.
6. See Footnote 2.
7. Note that the requirement to add the judgment to a parcel register does not apply when a Form 21 is filed. (Land Registry Client Resource Material: Notice – Judgment Searches & Form 21)
8. Land Registration Administration Regulations made under Section 94 of the Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, s. 23 (1) (h). The judgment(s) will automatically be removed from the parcel register(s) when the appropriate Certificate of Satisfaction is filed in the Judgment Roll.
Amended by Council on March 24, 2023.