Legal services fraud policy

Published: 26 November 2016
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources

Details on our legal fraud policy

Introduction

Registers of Scotland takes the issue of fraud extremely seriously. We are committed to identifying and stopping fraudulent activity wherever possible.

This policy relates to registration fraud.

What is registration fraud?

Registration fraud is a broad description for all fraudulent activity in our registers, for example identity fraud, forged documents presented for registration.

Section 112 of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 introduced a criminal offence of knowingly or recklessly making a false or misleading statement to the keeper as part of an application for registration.

Where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a fraud has taken place, we will work with the police and assist them in their investigations.

What fraud means for us

The consequences of registration fraud pose a threat to our business by introducing inaccuracy in the registers, thereby undermining public confidence in them and damaging our reputation as their guardian.

Fraud also poses a financial risk. Compensation provisions in the 2012 Act create a potential liability on us to compensate victims of registration fraud.

What to do if you suspect fraud

You should contact the police first if you suspect fraud. We also recommend you contact a solicitor. Find a directory of solicitors on the Law Society of Scotland website.

Use our form to report suspected fraudulent activity against the Keeper or her registers directly to us.

We operate under the statutory scheme of the 2012 Act. That statutory scheme limits the action we can take while fraud investigations are ongoing and before court orders reversing the fraud are obtained.

For example, if an application for registration in the land register is valid on its face, we have a statutory obligation to register it. We will not be able to delay the registration because of a fraud allegation. We can only refuse to register a deed if there has been a judicial determination that the deed is invalid.

Further guidance on this topic is contained within our Knowledge Base.