Land registration

[Project now completed]

Professor George Gretton

Team members
John Dods, Project Manager
Adam Machray, Legal Assistant
John Glover (on secondment from the Registers of Scotland)

This was a medium term project under our Seventh Programme of Law Reform.

The Commission's final Report on Land Registration (Scot Law Com No 222, 2010)  contained a draft Bill which would repeal and replace the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979.

The recommended reforms are evolutionary not revolutionary. The revolution happened in 1979, when a radically new system of property registration was introduced. Not surprisingly such a major change was not free from difficulties. Aware of the problems the Department of the Registers of Scotland asked us to review the law and have provided invaluable support to us over the life of the project.

The details of our recommendations can be found in the Report (see also the News Release). Here are some important points.

  • Acceleration of the process of bringing properties into the Land Register, the aim being 100% coverage of Scotland.
  • Electronic conveyancing should become competent in all cases including missives.
  • New rules to minimise delays in the registration process.
  • A radically revised system of handling inaccuracies, making it easier to put mistakes right.
  • The law should recognise a single title map of the whole of Scotland called the Cadastral Map, bringing Scotland into line with international terminology.
  • The introduction of a system of advance notices to protect buyers from last-minute adverse entries in the Land Register (or in the interlocking Register of Inhibitions), replacing the system of "letters of obligation"
  • A new system for ensuring that buyers get a good title to common areas in new housing developments.

The Report follows the publication of three discussion papers. (1) Discussion Paper on Land Registration: Void and Voidable Titles (DP No 125, 2004). (2) Discussion Paper on Land Registration: Registration, Rectification and Indemnity (DP No 128, 2005). (3) Discussion Paper on Land Registration: Miscellaneous Issues (DP No 130, 2005).

The Report has now been implemented: see the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 (asp 5). 

For further information, please contact

Page archive date: 26 February 2010