The 2012 Act: six months on

Published: 30 June 2015

It is now just over six months since the designated day for the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012. The changes brought about by the Act were the most extensive and significant faced by the legal profession and ourselves in the last 30 years. The law underpinning land registration is now very different from that set out under the previous legislation; the 2012 Act is much more thorough and legally robust and that, in turn, has driven the many changes to the actual registration process that we are now all working with. It is testament to the adaptability of those involved in conveyancing and registration that the new legislation has bedded in well. 

Over the period of 8 December to the end June, we received over 150,000 applications for registration in the land register. On top of this, we have received and processed some 80,000 advance notices in both the land and sasine register. Our new reports service is also operating well, with over 17,000 reports provided.  

Under the 2012 Act, the solicitor must satisfy his or herself as to the state of the title and certify that to the keeper. Advance notices, the new plans reports, the extended use of solicitor certification and the one-shot rule all reinforce and support this. Creating certainty at the point of submission is designed to remove the often intractable problems that solicitors and their clients would encounter, often only some months after a 1979 Act transaction had settled.

This approach is working. Ninety-four per cent of dealings applications are now being registered within four days, and the challenge over the next six months is to ensure we continue to improve our turnaround times on all other application types. 

As with any major new legislation, some things are taking longer to bed in. First registration applications are where we are aware there remain challenges in adapting to the new legislative requirements. We are continuously reviewing our guidance, practice, and systems in response to feedback, and continue to work with the Law Society and the paralegal association to refine guidance and publish updated information.

Getting it right first time is achievable. In May, a third of firms had no rejections, and 80 per cent of applications were submitted by firms that had more than 90 per cent of their applications accepted.

Find out more

Our website includes detailed information to assist you in avoiding rejections. We have recently updated our guidance on meeting mapping requirements and tenement plans, and on common areas. You may wish to avoid mapping issues by requesting an appropriate plans report and acting on the outcome of that report.