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On Monday 27th April 2020, The Registers of Scotland (the “Registers”) opened up their digital submission service and it has since then been operating very successfully operating. The Registers and the Law Society of Scotland worked extremely hard to put the digital submission service in place and to ensure it was fully operational in a very short space of time.
The digital submission process is extremely user friendly, has been invaluable to the legal profession, and it has been a very smooth transition.
The main purpose of the service was to enable the property market (Residential, Commercial and Rural) to continue to operate remotely in line with The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. This service allowed all applications for registration within the Land Register and the Register of Sasines (although not the Books of Council and Session, which was still dealt with by post) to be dealt with digitally. For more information on digital registration and its background read our update on 27 April 2020 here.
Registration of Deeds
The Registers and the Law Society of Scotland have announced that as of 1st March 2021 both the Land Register and Register of Sasines will fully open again for the registration of deeds by accepting deeds and other relevant documentation by post, similar to the process prior to 27 April 2020.
It should be noted that the Registers are looking for digital submissions to remain the preferred option and paper submissions should not be the default position – that should only be used where absolutely necessary (for example, due to the quality or size of the document you are submitting, including plans). It does appear, on the face of it, that going forward the application process will remain digital and the presenting agent should submit as much of the application digitally as is possible.
The reopened system will allow you to advise Registers of a deed or document that will be required to be sent by post along with a computer-generated cover sheet that will contain a unique code to be printed off and sent in with each physical document or deed. This is then scanned into the system by the Registers with an email link being sent to the presenting agent.
It should also be noted that the non-digital documentation must be sent to the Registers as quickly as possible and within a 15 working day timeframe, otherwise, a new submission will be required. You will need to be mindful of your advance notice if there is a further submission required as that could take you over the protected period.
All applications using this method will not be accepted until such time as all paper documents are received by the Registers.
It should also be noted that any Advance Notices which were extended by way of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 will now expire on 11 March 2021 (10 days from the date the Registers reopen and in line with the extended period allowed by the 2020 Act – extending the protected period from 35 days to the later of (a) the date occurring 10 days after the Registers of Scotland are fully open and operational again, or (b) the end of the 35 day period).
This means that there are some important dates to bear in mind with all applications where the Advance Notice was extended by the 2020 Act (and not yet submitted for registration) and to ensure that the registration is submitted before the expiration of the protected period (and to avoid another Advance Notice submission being required). Any application for registration of a deed protected by an extended Advance Notice must be submitted online by midnight on Wednesday 10 March, however, this will be Tuesday 9 March for any non-digital documents.
The digital process has been and continues to be, a very welcome tool for the legal profession and it is encouraging to see that this process is here to stay along with the added benefit of paper applications still being an option where necessary.
For more information on the Land Register and Register of Sasines, please get in touch with Blackadders’ Commercial Property Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, and across Scotland.
Jennifer Davidson, Associate Solicitor
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