Council members from your Society had a meeting with some top brass at Registers of Scotland on 22nd November 2007. Entirely without prejudice as to what may be the correct position and what may be the official position of Registers of Scotland, the following items seemed to your secretary to be of potential interest to members:-
- The Keeper has no legal obligation to produce updated land certificates other than when a whole title was transferred from one owner to another and, although there had been a practice of updating land certificates for security transactions, such as re-mortgages, this practice has been discontinued. Agents could always instruct and pay for duplicates or check the title sheet on the Internet via Registers Direct.
- The public registration of deeds such as standard securities which show details such as account number and signature creates a danger because these details can be copied and used to create fraudulent deeds (eg to create false securities over unsecured properties) and the amount of information and material included in deeds which are to be made available on public registers should perhaps be minimised. This issue has been taken up with lending institutions.
- Solicitors applications for registration tend to have an error rate of about 11.5% but this is reduced to nearer 2% where fees are paid by direct debit because no fee calculation or cheque signing is required. Land certificates issued by the Keeper have an error rate of about 1.3%.
- We were not given a specific date for the implementation of ARTL but we were reminded that the IT requirements would have to be met in conveyancing offices, including Acrobat 8 (this appears to be in error for Adobe Reader whch is what your secretary's office uses, usually without any problems) and the necessary card reader software and efficient Internet access. In order to make an office ARTL capable, one or, possibly, two officials from Registers of Scotland require to spend a day in the office, setting up the ARTL process, during which period a solicitor must be available. The electronic signature of the firm’s Local Registration Authority (LRA), who has to be a solicitor in that office, has to be set up.
- Once ARTL is in process, the form of disposition is fixed and cannot be adjusted and shall not include, for example, the MHA clause or deed of trust which items would be dealt with in the covering mandate. Practitioners are invited to suggest what clauses should be contained in the ARTL disposition.
- ARTL shall not be compulsory but there are likely to be preferentially cheaper registration fees for ARTL registrations and there may be pressure from lending institutions for ARTL to be used
Any suggestions or queries regarding the ARTL process should be directed to the Society by email to email@example.com so that we can carry on useful discussions with Registers of Scotland.