Current developments on ARTL; updating feudal titles post-abolition; Registers website; Joint Consultative Committee

Law Society Conference – ARTL

Registers of Scotland is a sponsor of the Law Society’s 2005 Annual Conference, where we will have an exhibition stand highlighting the ongoing development of Automated Registration of Title to Land (ARTL).

ARTL, which it is planned will be introduced from late 2006, will offer an alternative to the current paper-based system of registration for those dealings with whole that impact solely upon the proprietorship and charges sections of the title sheet. These transactions are principally sales of, and security transactions over, registered titles. Instead of paper applications, supported by physical deeds and documents, ARTL will enable electronic registration through well-established internet technology. Access will be restricted to authorised users, who will input application details directly onto the system from their desktop. These details will automatically create digital deeds, authenticated by digital signatures, which will be used to update the title sheet.

The main features of ARTL are:

  • dematerialisation of paper deeds;
  • optional de-materialisation of certificates of title;
  • electronic payment of registration fees and stamp duty land tax;
  • stamp duty land tax returns and tax collected at the point of registration by the Keeper on behalf on the Inland Revenue;
  • registration normally complete within 24 hours.

The next step in the development of ARTL is a formal consultative exercise on the drafts of the main legislative changes required for the introduction of the system. The consultative period will run from June to September and copies of the full consultative document will be available from our customer service centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and from our website .

Our strategy for developing ARTL has always been to consult and work closely with the full range of stakeholders, including the Law Society of Scotland. As we move towards full implementation, we will begin to work very closely with those who will actually use the system to complete registration transactions. We will also work closely with a special ARTL Implementation Group within the Society. Chaired by Professor Stewart Brymer, the group will ensure that all relevant legal practice issues are resolved and in place prior to the introduction of the system.

As previously announced in the Journal in October 2004, to assist us in our work with the various Society committees, we have appointed two liaison representatives – Tom Drysdale, former partner of Shepherd+ Wedderburn and Olivers, and former chairman of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre, and David Preston, a practising solicitor in Oban, and former President of the Law Society of Scotland. Tom and David are interested in the profession’s views on the development of ARTL and can be contacted by email respectively at:; .

Finally, we will keep you fully apprised of future developments through a series of Registers Updates and articles in the Journal. We also intend meeting individual firms and local faculties around the country to demonstrate the system. In the meantime, the latest information on the development of ARTL can be found at the dedicated area of our website –


Feudal abolition – transitional period

We will soon begin work on the updating of over 1,000,000 registered titles to take account of the following legislative provisions:

  • section 17 of the 2000 Act, which extinguished the superior’s right to enforce real burdens, subject to saving provisions. Under subsection (1) any real burden enforceable only by a superior was extinguished on the appointed day;
  • Part 4 of the 2003 Act, which abolished enforcement rights implied by common law, but provided a preservation procedure and recreated some of these rights with a statutory basis. In future, it will not be possible to create implied rights. Sections 52 to 56 of the 2003 Act, and section 60 of the 2000 Act, detail the circumstances whereby burdens will subsist.

During the 10-year transitional period, the Keeper will not remove extinguished burdens during the normal course of an application for registration. Instead, he will exercise the discretion conferred upon him by the legislation and treat extinguished burdens as subsisting until such times as the title sheet has been updated in line with the planned timetable for updating titles.

The updating of registered titles will be a substantial task, requiring the examination of over 1,000,000 individual title sheets. The work will be undertaken using a systematic and structured approach, where individual titles will be updated as part of a rolling county-by-county plan. Once an individual title has been updated, a statement to that effect will be clearly marked on the title sheet.

Further details of how the Keeper will update individual title sheets will be published in Registers Update 10.6. The update will be sent to all solicitors on our mailing list and can also be printed from our website at updates.

Further guidance

To answer questions relating to feudal reform and how it affects the registration process, we have, in addition to our series of Registers Updates, compiled an extensive list of frequently asked questions that can be viewed at:

Also, if you require assistance on a matter of feudal reform relating to an application for registration, please contact our pre-registration enquiries section: Pre-Registration Enquiries, Registers of Scotland Executive Agency, Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh EH8 7AU (LP55, Edinburgh 5; DX 550907, Edinburgh 9; enquiries: 0845 607 0163 (local rate); direct line: 0131 479 3674; fax: 0131 479 3675; email:


Registers of Scotland Website Update

Registration of Title Practice Book

The Registration of Title Practice Book provides an essential guide to land registration processes and procedures. First published in 1981, a second (current) edition followed in 2000.

The Practice Book has previously been available only in book form. However, to make it more widely accessible to the profession, it is now available on the Agency’s website at The content of the online book is fully searchable via an easy-to-use search facility.

E-Forms Online training package

E-forms online is accessible via any personal computer connected to the internet. The service enables online completion of Registers of Scotland’s application forms, reports forms and copy deed forms.

We have recently developed an online training package that has been designed to offer new users of e-forms online, clear step-by-step instructions on the completion of the various forms held on the system. The package can be accessed at and is split into a number of brief interactive topics, with on-screen instructions and illustrations to guide the user through the training process. The topics include the completion, saving and printing of forms, and the creation of time-saving templates for the most common types of application.

In addition to the online training package, we are also happy to visit individual firms to provide training to solicitors and administration staff on the use of e-forms online and Registers Direct.


Joint Consultative Committee

Keeper’s Corner in the January edition of the Journal announced that the Joint Consultative Committee would now meet three times per year.  By the date of publication of this article, the next meeting of the committee will have taken place (on 11 April). Matters for discussion at the meeting include:

  • review of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979;
  • Automated Registration of Title to Land (ARTL) project;
  • quality of land certificates;
  • abolition of feudal tenure;
  • Register of Community Interests in Land;
  • the Outer House judgment in Aberdeen College v Youngson and its impact on conveyances a non domino;
  • implications of identity theft for search results in the register of inhibitions, and
  • issues surrounding SDLT certificates.


Share this article
Add To Favorites