[Copy of a letter to the Law Society of Scotland's Property Law Committee]
The latest edict from Northern Rock which requires the mandatory use of ARTL has prompted me to think once again on ARTL and its problems. Clearly ARTL is the classic camel, i.e. a horse designed by a committee. It could be really a great thing.
From speaking to various colleagues in firms of all sizes, it would appear there is no acceptance of this by the profession as a whole and I am noticing a marked reluctance on the part of all firms to engage in the ARTL process. It is without doubt slower than doing it on paper.
The idea in principle is a good one. I understand that the new Land Registration Act will not be implemented until the Keeper has a new IT system in place. May I suggest that the Society write to the Keeper suggesting that ARTL be redesigned at that stage using the new IT system, and hopefully that will make it much faster and will be user friendly.
In the meantime I strongly suggest that the Society issue a recommendation to the profession not to use ARTL in its present form, unless perhaps it is for a simple remortgage or discharge where it probably does work quite simply. I understand from speaking to some solicitors involved initially in the ARTL project that the Keeper’s aim was initially to ensure that ARTL would remove from the Keeper the burden of dealing with all these remortgages. The lenders have leapt on the bandwagon however. The remortgage volume problem has of course disappeared with the lack of funding.
Will the Society for once grasp the nettle and help the profession?
David R Adie, Adie Hunter, Glasgow