“Everyone will know who owns Scotland” 
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, May 2014

On the 8th December 2014, the land registration system in Scotland will experience its biggest overhaul since the introduction of the Land Register almost 35 years ago. On that date the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 (“the Act”) will come into force, radically altering the landscape for anyone with an interest in property in Scotland, and aligning the Scottish system much more closely with its English equivalent.

The current system of registration in Scotland relies on a complex series of protocols combining ‘property’ law, ‘registration’ law and solicitors’ insurance. The Act is designed to realign these sometimes opposing angles, improve transparency and efficiency, and above all facilitate the stated aim of the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland (the “Keeper”) to register the whole of Scotland within the next ten years.

  • New Triggers for Registration

Amongst other new triggers, from 8th December, all transfers of property not yet registered in the Land Register – whether for value or not – will trigger first registration.

  • Cadastral Map

The cadastral map is the foundation of the new system of registration, and is effectively one large map, based on the Ordnance Survey map, covering the whole of Scotland. Each registered property will be a “cadastral unit” and be allocated a “cadastral number”.

  • Advance Notices

Similar to the English system of priority searches, Advance Notices will protect deeds for a period of 35 days, meaning that the deed to which the Advance Notice refers will take priority over any other deed submitted during that time.

For fuller information on the changes outlined here and other changes to be brought in by the Act please see thearticle on our website.  This is the start of a whole new era in Scottish property law and practice; only time will tell how successful it will be, and what new challenges will arise.