Keeper's rejection of registration applications
The continuing problem of the number of registration applications that are defective; and a Keeper's Direction on the expansion of ARTL
Since time immemorial – or at least since Kenneth Pritchard was Secretary of the Law Society of Scotland – the Keeper has had to reject around 12% of registration applications when they arrive at intake, because they fail to meet the minimum statutory criteria set out in the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 to allow them to be accepted. This clearly causes a significant amount of re-work for firms having these applications returned to them (especially those firms which have a higher than average figure of rejections), and also for the Keeper’s staff. Over recent years, the Keeper has introduced variable direct debit as a means of drawing down registration dues and this has had some impact on these figures. However, today the proportion of applications that require to be sent back hovers alarmingly steadily around the 12% mark.
The reason why the greatest number of applications require to be returned is that the fee for the application is either not sent with it, or is deficient in some way (e.g. it is for an insufficient amount, or a cheque is unsigned or undated). The other main cause is application forms that are either completed inaccurately, unsigned, undated or have something missing. Shortly after the introduction of direct debit, once a sufficient proportion of registration fees were paid that way, the figures did dip slightly, but they have crept their way back up to approaching 12%. I have discussed this with the Society’s Conveyancing Committee, who agree that having a personal approach to firms which have a particularly high rate of rejected applications might be useful, simply to highlight the matter to them.
One of the features of introducing the option of fee paying by direct debit has been to reduce the higher percentages of rejection rates. Whereas some firms were experiencing rejection rates of up to 26%, this has shrunk now to somewhere in the order of 17%. This in itself is useful for the firms themselves, but I am convinced that more can be done. To that end, I will shortly be writing to the senior partners of the small number of firms that have a particularly high rejection rate for applications that fail to meet the minimum necessary statutory criteria, to alert them. However, should any other firm wish to be informed as to their own statistics, I shall be very pleased to hear from them and would be happy to provide this information.
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KEEPER DIRECTS EXPANSION OF ARTL
The Keeper has made Direction No 1 of 2008 in relation to the ARTL system. The Keeper’s Direction is made under s 4(2A) to (2C) of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979. Section 4 was amended at the time of the introduction of ARTL so that the Keeper by means of Directions, could control the types of application which could be submitted for registration through the ARTL system. The Keeper made Directions in 2007 to prescribe the ambit of security transactions that could be processed. Direction No.1 of 2008 lists a range of nine additional application types which may be processed through the ARTL system.
“The additional application types that the Keeper is prescribing for registration through the ARTL system are as follows:-
- the creation of a disposition over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of an assignation of a lease over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of an assignation of a single standard security over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of a notice of payment of improvement grant over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of a notice of payment of repairs grant over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of a charging order over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of a notice of cessor of conditions of improvement grant over the whole of a registered interest in land;
- the creation of a notice of cessor of conditions of repairs grant over the whole of a registered interest in land, and
- the discharge of a charging order over the whole of a registered interest in land.”
The Direction is published on the Keeper’s website at www.ros.gov.uk/artl/keepersdirection.pdf.
The Direction has been made to support the forthcoming rollout of the next phase of the ARTL system. Further information can be gleaned from the website at www.ros.gov.uk/artl.