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10-year target

14 July 14

Registers of Scotland page: completion of Land Register; Land Registration Act orders

by Registers of Scotland

Scottish ministers have asked Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register in 10 years, and have committed to registering all public land within five years. This announcement was made in response to recommendations made by the Land Reform Review Group and follows from the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012, one of the principal policy aims of which was the completion of the Land Register.

The Land Register now consists of some 1.5 million titles, representing about 58% of property titles in Scotland, and accounting for some 26% of the Scottish land mass. Completing the Land Register is a major undertaking and will require collaboration and engagement with stakeholders across the private, third and public sectors, all of whom are affected by ministers’ commitment. This summer, RoS will be issuing a public consultation paper on how completion will be taken forward, focusing on the statutory framework for completion set out in the Act. It will look at additional levers for registration, the use of voluntary registration and the innovative powers for “Keeper-induced registration”. Obtaining the views of legal professionals and the Law Society of Scotland will be important and we encourage you to participate. Details of the consultation will be published in future issues of the Journal.

More 2012 Act orders made

As part of the implementation of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012, it has been necessary to put in place additional subordinate legislation. It was the aim of RoS and the Scottish ministers to have the majority of the subordinate legislation in place before the Scottish Parliament summer recess.

To meet this timetable, the following instruments that were subject to the affirmative procedure were laid in the Parliament on 16 May:

  • Land Register of Scotland (Rate of Interest on Compensation) Regulations 2014
  • Registers of Scotland (Fees) Order 2014
  • Registers of Scotland (Information and Access) Order 2014
  • Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 (Incidental, Consequential and Transitional) Order 2014 [draft].

In addition, the Land Register Rules etc (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (“the Rules”) were laid on 30 May. Of particular interest to conveyancers will be the Fees Order, the Information and Access Order and the Rules.

The Fees Order provides the fees for the registration and recording of deeds and documents in all of the registers under the management and control of the Keeper. The key point of interest is that there is no increase in the fees RoS will charge for recording or registering. For example, the standard fee for registering deeds such as standard securities in the Land Register and the General Register of Sasines will remain at £60 (£50 if submitted using ARTL).

This order also provides the fees for the new products introduced by the 2012 Act. The fee that has been prescribed for entering or discharging an advance notice will be £10. For noting a caveat on a title sheet, the fee will be £60.

The Information and Access Order, combined with the Fees Order, provide for public access to the registers, and the fees that RoS will charge for the services provided at our customer service centres. These orders also provide for information that the Keeper makes available to the public in the form of plain copies, certified copies, extracts, and, in case of the Crofting Register, office copies. These orders do not provide the level of fees for Registers Direct or our reports service. RoS will continue to provide these on a non-statutory basis.

The Rules made under the 2012 Act are more technical in nature than those made under the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979. They provide details of the procedure to be used for advance notices, particularly their electronic submission. The key component of the Rules is the forms that will be used in relation to the Land Register. The approach that has been taken is to prescribe the form in plain text format only. RoS are developing a new e-form for use in the Land Register, and details of the new application form will be published on our website in the near future.

The orders have completed the parliamentary process and will come into force on the designated day, 8 December 2012. Further details and updates on the implementation of the 2012 Act can be found on our website: www.ros.gov.uk/2012act/

Service standards update

  • 83% of straightforward dealings with whole completed in under four days and
  • 78% in two days
  • 95% of standard FRs completed within 20 days and over
  • 99% in 30 days
  • 100% of Sasine deeds despatched within 20 days.The current Sasine turnaround time is under five days
ros.gov.uk

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Eve Adams

Wednesday July 16, 2014, 18:56

This article appears to suggest that sasine recordings can be submitted via ARTL and thereby save on fees. Not according to the Registers' website pages on ARTL.

I have to say that no one I have spoken with has any confidence that the Registers will achieve this ridiculous "headline grabbing" artificial target of 10 years.

Consider, according to the agency website, the number of solicitor firms using ARTL has remained at 696 since around Oct 2012, when it had previously peaked at 700. The number of lenders using ARTL has remained at 29 since at least around Jun 2011 as the number of local authorities has remained at 13 in the same period. Have they given up on ARTL?

In the more than 6 years of ARTL only around 86,743 applications have been completed in total, averaging less than 14,500 per annum, or under 280 per week or 50 odd per day.

I may be incorrect but doubt that this covers the running costs of the ARTL system nor support and training costs?

If 58% of the Land Register equates to around 1.5m registered properties then around 1.1m are yet to be completed, including many of the most ancient and most complicated.

If ARTL could process first registration or transfer of part applications then some pressure could be removed from the Keeper's shoulders. But as no progress has been made upgrading ARTL to do so and this presumably remains a “longer term plan” (hopefully achieved before the end of the 10 year plan) it seems quite unrealistic that reduced staffing levels can cope with the target completion date/maintain standards and service levels whilst also, hopefully, finally modernising the IT systems.

It is yet to be announced that the new systems will be delivered and that must be a risk to all business activities, will they work as intended, who really knows?

The lack of a chief technology officer appointment in the past 6 months suggests an IT resource and planning gap which does not bode well for any short-term IT system progress which must then knock any confidence the silly 10 year target could be met. SMOKE & MIRRORS!