Property briefing: the third – and latest – edition of the Scottish Standard Clauses is now available. The working party explains how they have been updated to reflect current practice

It is perhaps hard to believe, but edition 1 of the Scottish Standard Clauses came into the world as long ago as December 2014. It is even more staggering to note that the first edition of the Edinburgh Standard Clauses was issued in 2005 and the first edition of the Combined Standard Clauses was June 2009. It is perhaps tempting fate to suggest that the underlying style of the standard clauses has passed the test of time, and more importantly, is now an accepted fact of current conveyancing practice.

I would suggest that one reason that the standard clauses have found acceptance is there has always been an ongoing effort to ensure they are amended, updated or rectified to reflect appropriate changes in practice. There may be some cases where the drafters of the standard clauses have seen fit to lead changes in practice, but the majority of amendments are taken to reflect what is happening “on the ground”.

As part of that process, therefore, I am pleased to say the third edition of the Scottish Standard Clauses has now been approved, finalised and registered in the Books of Council & Session.

The registered clauses have been circulated via the Law Society of Scotland, and it is suggested they, in effect, come into operation as and when firms see fit, but preferably no earlier than 1 November 2018.

What’s new

The various changes implemented by the new edition have been generally trailed at various events and by members of the working party, within local faculties.

The purpose of this article, however, is simply to highlight, once again, the primary changes within the new edition, utilising the numbering which will be known to you. 

Continuing review

These are the primary changes and I hope practitioners will agree they reflect, as always, a fair and reasonable balance within the standard offer between the interests of both buyer and seller.

As always, the monitoring and reviewing of the standard clauses is an ongoing task and if any colleague does wish to suggest further changes at any stage, they should feel free to contact myself or any other member of the working party via the Law Society of Scotland.

The Author
Ross MacKay, chair, Standard Clauses Review Group
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