I read with some interest the letter from Neil Cavers headed “More Errors by Registers” (Journal, November 2015, 6). It struck a chord with me as I have a similar experience with Registers of Scotland.
To avoid a lengthy letter I will quote three instances. In the first case the Keeper omitted a survivorship destination. In another case the Keeper listed the wrong creditor – a completely different bank from that noted in the standard security. Finally and most recently, having gone to the time, and not inconsiderable expense, of getting a suitable deed plan prepared by a well known firm of professional searchers, having produced to them all the relevant documents, the disposition with fresh plan attached was rejected by Registers of Scotland who insisted there was an overlap with an existing registered title. The difficulty had been noted during examination, hence the reason a new plan was prepared. At my request the firm of searchers wrote a professional and straightforward letter which was forwarded to Registers of Scotland, who accepted that the original rejection had been incorrect.
All the foregoing matters, and many others, cost the solicitor much time and effort, but there is no fine or penalty imposed on Registers of Scotland when they make mistakes. At every opportunity Registers of Scotland impose their penalties on solicitors.
It is very disappointing that mistakes are made, but inevitably mistakes will be made. Why Registers of Scotland allowed penalties to be imposed on their customers I do not know. Why the Law Society of Scotland allowed this to happen, again I do not know.
Finally I notice that in his comment on Mr Cavers' letter, Mr Simpson, the head of registration and service management at Registers of Scotland comes out with the same platitudes that they take their performance against their targets and their commitment to excellent customer service very seriously, etc. The quality of service from Registers of Scotland has decreased appreciably over the last few years. This is caused at least in part by the difficulties and complications of the new system, which took both Registers and solicitors a great deal of time to understand. Mistakes obviously are made – but these mistakes are on both sides and it seems to me about time that Registers of Scotland got their act together and treated solicitors with a great deal more respect than they are showing in the present difficult times.
Like Mr Simpson, solicitors are very sorry when they fall short, and solicitors do learn from their mistakes. The encouragement is that solicitors are fined £30 every time they make a mistake and I do not know how many thousands of pounds Registers of Scotland have collected since fines were introduced. I suppose the figures will be published somewhere but I have not seen the figures in the Journal.J S Paterson, Stewart & Osborne, Beith [The Journal has now seen figures obtained by Ed Wright of Livingston under a freedom of information request, disclosing that the total income for rejected applications in 2015 (up to 3 November, covering invoices raised from 9 February to 31 October) was £468,150, split between pre-intake rejections income of £379,050 and post-intake rejections income of £89,100 – Editor]