Wednesday, 28 June 2017

400th anniversary of the creation of the Register of Sasines

Today marks the 400th anniversary of the creation of the Register of Sasines - the world's oldest national continuous public Property Register. Here are 5 facts describing the past, present and future of the Sasine Register:

1.  Prior to 1617, there was a system of public registration of instruments of Sasines and prior to that the instruments were recorded in the protocol books of notaries. Transfers of property were originally by symbolic delivery, by handing over earth or stone or some other symbol of the property being sold and then recording the Deed of Conveyance in the local Register of Sasines.

2.  The whole point of having a public register was to provide certainty and to regulate preferences - a job which the Register of Sasines has done very well. It has provided a solid platform on which Registers of Scotland can build for the future.

3. 1979 saw a major step forward with the introduction of registration of title in Operational Areas. Notwithstanding the clear challenges with the legislation, the 1979 Act was a necessary step in the development process.

4. The Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 introduced a wholesale revision of registration of title in Scotland. There are those who lament the passing of the 1979 Act. It is suggested that the reforms introduced by the 2912 Act were essential for a progressive Land Register. The old system had its attractions but it needed an overhaul. The Sasine Register is now closed to transfer deeds, leases and standard securities and will be closed completely once the Land Register has been completed

5.  A series of innovations will be introduced in the coming years. The Digital Discharge Service is now operating; the first iteration of ScotLIS will be launched in October this year; and work continues towards completion of the Land Register. The latter is being done through a combination of compulsory registration of title on sale, voluntary registration (with a 25% discount in registration dues) and Keeper Induced Registration in terms of Section 29 of the 2012 Act.

Although some will no doubt disagree, it is a great time to be a property lawyer in Scotland.

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