04 Aug 2014

From Sasine to Land Register - The 10 year challenge

From Sasine to Land Register - The 10 year challenge

Cara Ramsey, Solicitor, analyses the world’s oldest public property register and the 10 year challenge from Sasine to land register. 

Cara Ramsey, Solicitor, analyses the world’s oldest public property register and the 10 year challenge from Sasine to land register. 

Scotland maintains the world’s oldest public property register dating back to 1617. There are still an estimated 1.1 million properties which remain in the General Register of Sasines. Quite a substantial volume considering the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 reached it’s 35th anniversary this year. In light of this out dated register, the Land Register of Scotland has invited responses in dealing with the process of transferring the remaining properties in the General Register of Sasine into the current Land Register. The idea being that the completion of the Land Register will compliment the new Land Registration Act 2012. There are several points which have to be considered.

Is a 10 year timescale sustainable?

Taking into consideration the volume of properties still to be incorporated into the Land Register, which is a little over 40%, it may come as quite a challenge for Registers with the average figure of Sasine Registrations between the period of 2003 – 2014 being 45,000. In order to successfully complete this task, the new average would amount to 113,000 registrations each year for the next ten years. However, it may be possible to lessen the work load by grouping together large sums of properties and registering them under the same application, for example housing association properties. This benefitting twofold; reducing costs for the proprietor and for the Keeper by reducing the volume of applications and rather ‘bulk registering’ as opposed to extensive quantities of individual registrations.  Furthermore, it would prospectively allow the 10 year time scale to be achieved by producing a manageable and better organised process for The Keeper.

How will the Keeper’s registration costs be met?

Voluntary Registration will still remain an option with registration fees being met by the proprietor themselves, however Keeper Induced Registration costs shall have to be met solely by the Keeper. It has been suggested by the Land Register that the Keeper will have to establish more funding via more efficiencies within registers themselves. Bearing in mind, the idea of transferring Sasine titles into The Land Register is to compliment the new Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012 by improving the efficiency and progress of application for registration.

Would statutory measures be appropriate?

Currently the Keeper has the right to refuse voluntary registrations, however removing this right may provide a successful route to meeting the proposed 10 year time scale. Additionally, the introduction of Keeper Induced Registration, whereby the Keeper has the right to register Sasine Titles into the Land Register without having ever received an application for registration would provide a substantial step in the right direction towards meeting the 10 year timescale – it has been noted that voluntary registration must be promoted as a first option rather than the Keeper’s overriding  power to register a property on an involuntary basis.

In light of this, the process of completing the Land Register should effectively compliment the new Land Registration Act, soon to come into full effect, by providing a uniform register for conveyancers and the Keeper to work from, therefore, prospectively limiting any potential dispute over ‘non- registered land’ by providing an accurate record of land ownership.

Cara Ramsay, Trainee Solicitor 


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