The one-shot rule

Under the one-shot rule, you should get your application right first time, and we should simply reject defective applications.

This guidance contains information on the general application conditions and the conditions of registration, and how they apply to your application.

Use the one-shot rule checklist to make sure your application avoids our most common reasons for rejection.

Right first time

Under the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 (the 2012 Act), applications awaiting registration may not be substituted or amended without the Keeper's consent. As such, applications presented for registration need to be "right first time" or else face rejection. This has become known as the one-shot rule and applies to all types of application.

Registration is considered to have taken place on the date an application is accepted on to the land register, and the decision to register a deed is based on the state of the legal universe at that time. If a defective application were to be accepted, the deed would still take effect from the date of registration - a date on which it was not acceptable by law. Any attempt to later remedy the defect could not be considered part of the initial application as the remedy did not form part of the legal universe at the point of registration. As such, the application must be rejected.

It is not possible for us to retain your application until registration issues are resolved. The application, once rejected or withdrawn, should be amended and resubmitted and will be given a new date of registration on acceptance.

Application requirements

The rules for acceptance of an application for registration are split into "general application conditions" and "conditions of registration". General application conditions – set out in section 22 of the 2012 Act - relate to the application itself. Conditions of registration - set out in sections 23 to 26 of the Act (section 28 for voluntary registrations) - relate to the deed or plot to be registered.

General application conditions

The general application conditions require that applications be in the prescribed form. The application must not relate to a souvenir plot (defined as a plot of inconsiderable size and no practical utility) and must not fall to be rejected by either section 6 of the Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 (which introduces probativity as a requirement for registration in the land register) or a prohibition in any other enactment (such as  the prohibition on registration under the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013. The conditions also require either payment, or that satisfactory arrangements have been made for payment, of the fee for registration.

The general application conditions also stipulate that applications must allow us to enter the required information in the relevant sections of the title sheet. For example, the property section must contain a description of the plot together with any pertinents, the proprietorship section must contain the name and designation of the proprietor, and the burdens section must contain details of any encumbrances. You must provide us with all the documents and information necessary to comply with these duties. If any essential information is omitted from the application, the application will be rejected.

Deeds to accompany your application

When submitting an application over an unregistered plot, you will be asked to identify deeds in which burdens are contained, and to highlight any burdens that you consider to no longer apply. We will rely on the information provided and will not search for other deeds that may affect. However, if the plot is in a research area, where we have already carried out preparatory work and other deeds that contain burdens have been identified, we will continue to disclose these burdens in the title sheet even if you have not identified them.

If you refer to a deed for burdens but do not submit it with your application, we will reject the application unless sufficient information is available to allow us to complete the burdens section of your title sheet. If you know that we have already examined the deed, you can note this on the inventory contained within the application form. This will provide us with the information necessary to continue registration.

View further guidance on encumbrances and off-register rights.

Automatic plot registration

Automatic plot registration (APR) occurs when certain deeds are submitted for registration, such as a grant of lease, a sub-lease or an assignation of an unregistered lease, triggering registration of the underlying plot of land. Under the general application conditions, the tenant, sub-tenant or assignee must provide us with the documents and information required to make up a title sheet for the plot of land. Failure to do so could lead to the rejection of the application.

View further guidance on leases and automatic plot registration.

Conditions of registration

The conditions of registration are applicable specifically to the deed or plot being registered. Different conditions apply depending on the type of application submitted: section 23 relates to transfers of unregistered plots (first registrations in 1979 Act terms), section 25 relates to deeds that trigger registration of the underlying plot of land (automatic plot registrations), section 26 applies to deeds relating to registered plots (dealings of whole and transfers of part), and section 28 relates to applications for voluntary registration.

As with the general application conditions, the conditions of registration are tied to the date on which the application is made. If the deed being registered fails to meet any of the conditions when we receive it, we must reject the application..


One of the main conditions of registration, applicable to all deeds being registered, is that the deed must be valid. A deed is valid, for the purposes of the 2012 Act, if:

  • by the registration applied for, a right would be acquired, varied or extinguished; or
  • the deed serves to certify an acquisition, variation or extinction which has taken place.

In practical terms, the deed must be properly drawn and executed, and the granter of the deed must have both title and capacity to grant. The deed must also be capable of doing what it sets out to do. This means, for example, that a disposition looking to create real burdens must, as well as meeting the conditions of the 2012 Act, also be constitutive in terms of section 4 of the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003. If it is not, then the deed fails to be valid and we must reject it.

Execution of deeds

A deed that is to be registered should be signed by the granter and meet the requirements for self-proving status.

The Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 explains how a deed should be signed by a granter so that the self-proving standard can be met. A granter should sign using either:

  • the full name by which the granter is identified within the deed presented for registration, or in the testing clause (or equivalent) that appears in the deed
  • a surname, preceded by at least one forename. The forename can be expressed in full, or with an initial, abbreviation or familiar form

Your deed won’t be accepted if the signature doesn’t conform to these standards.

The 1995 Act also allows deeds to be signed in a way that does not fit either of the two styles above, for example in the format surname forename, or by non-Roman characters, if that is the usual signature of the granter. However, the 1995 Act prohibits documents signed in this way from being self-proving (unless that is established in court proceedings or the form of signing is also replicated elsewhere in the deed). Where parties insist on signing in this way, care should therefore be taken to ensure that the form of signing is also narrated in the body or testing clause of the deed to ensure self-proving status can be obtained.

Deeds will typically be witnessed in order to achieve self-proving status, and witnesses should also sign in one of the two styles set out above.

There are a small number of exceptions to these rules about signing. See sections 6(3) and 7(6) of the 1995 Act for more information.

Description of subjects

It is a condition of registration that, where the application relates to the transfer of an unregistered plot, the plot must be sufficiently described to enable us to delineate it on the cadastral map. This condition of registration applies both to land that will be owned exclusively on registration, and to areas owned in common with others. Any encumbrances affecting only part of a plot must also be sufficiently described for mapping purposes.

View our mapping guidance.

Development plan approval

Development plan approval (DPA) is a free service that checks development plans and deeds, and identifies issues before the registration of individual plots.

We recommend you seek DPA at the earliest possible stage of the development process to identify any anomalies or issues.

Once you have DPA, you don't need to submit a paper deed plan with the related disposition. Instead, the DPA reference or title number and plot number should be stated within the disposition, along with the usual link to the disponer's title in the description of the plot - for example, "which subjects hereby disponed form part and portion".

Find out more about development plan approval.

Title numbers

Where an application relates to a registered plot, it is a condition of registration that the deed must narrate the title number of each title sheet to which it relates. However, where the deed narrates the title number of a shared plot title sheet there is no requirement for the title number of any sharing plot title sheet to also be narrated.

Where a deed, such as a standard security, accompanies a disposition over an unregistered plot, the provisional title number for that plot (which will become the title number once registration is complete) will not have been allocated. In such situations, we will not reject the application to register the accompanying deed as the title number could not have been known when the deed was executed.

While deeds should, wherever possible, narrate the title number, we will, as a matter of policy, accept a deed that does not narrate the title number provided that the deed contains an otherwise sufficient description of the subjects, or the security being discharged, etc., and:

  • the deed is executed before the provisional title number is known, or is capable of being known; or
  • the deed is executed up to 28 days after the provisional title number is known.

Your obligations

You must be certain, prior to submission, that your application meets both the general application conditions and the conditions of registration. You must also satisfy us of the same.

The application form contains a declaration section. The section contains the following certifications:

  • that the general application conditions and the conditions of registration have been complied with in respect of the deed being registered
  • that an application for voluntary registration complies with the requirements of sections 27 and 28 of the 2012 Act
  • that the information provided on the form is complete and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief

There is no requirement to sign the form. By selecting the appropriate options for your application and submitting the form, you are providing the necessary certification. We will rely on this certification when registering the application.

By relying on the certification that the deed being registered is valid, including that the granter has title and capacity to grant the deed, we will carry out no further investigation in this regard. As such, we will not need sight of much of the supporting documentation. For example, rather than submitting links in title for examination, or producing the prescriptive progress of title, you will certify, by submitting the form, that valid links in title exist and that there has been an examination of title.

This approach is underpinned by the duty of care and offence provisions under sections 111 and 112 of the 2012 Act. In respect of applications for registration, both applicants and granters (and solicitors) are under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that we do not inadvertently make the register inaccurate. It is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a materially false or misleading statement in relation to an application for registration.

We will continue to carry out checks on receipt of an application to ensure that everything is in order and that there are no defects on the face of the deed to be registered. It is anticipated that such checks should identify most errors prior to the application being entered in the application record.

Reasons for rejection

The Keeper is keen to identify defective applications prior to these being entered in the application record, and will therefore carry out initial checks. The Keeper can, however, reject an application at any stage in the registration process, should a defect be identified.

Based on the general application and registration conditions, the main reasons for rejection are highlighted below. In order to avoid rejection, an application for registration must comply with the following:

  1. The deed must be a "registrable deed", i.e. its registration must be authorised by an enactment in terms of section 49(1). A list of registrable deeds will be available when completing the application form.
  2. All documents and information necessary to complete the title sheet and map the subjects must be submitted. For example:
  • deed to be registered;
  • extent deed(s); and
  • deeds containing rights and burdens.
  • The application does not relate to a souvenir plot, which is a plot of land of inconsiderable size and of no practical utility.
  • All relevant questions on the application form must be answered. The dynamic online application form will only require the applicant to complete the parts relevant to the type of application they are submitting.
  • An application form must be submitted for each deed being registered.
  • Direct debit arrangements must be in place.
  • Where appropriate, an LBTT notification and payment arrangement are in place.
  • The deed to be registered must be valid. A deed is "valid" for the purposes of the Act if "(a) by the registration applied for, a right would be acquired, varied or extinguished, or (b) the deed is certificatory of an acquisition, variation or extinction which has taken place." The applicant will certify on the application form that the deed is valid, which includes that the granter has title and capacity to grant it. The Keeper will make no further examination in this regard.
  • The Keeper will check for any defects on the face of the deed. For example, a disposition should contain:
    • names and designations of granter and grantee;
    • acceptable words of conveyance;
    • description of subjects;
    • subscription of granter and witness;
    • name and designation of witness; and
    • deed plan with appropriate docket.
  • The plot must be sufficiently described to enable the Keeper to delineate it on the cadastral map:
    • deeds relating to seabed plots must contain boundary co-ordinates;
    • any reference to an approved Development Plan must be correct;
    • plans should be prepared in accordance with the Keeper's published deed plan criteria.
  • For an application over a registered plot or plots, the correct title number(s) must be narrated in the deed.
  • For an application over part of a registered plot, the deed must contain a plan and/or full bounding description sufficient to allow the Keeper to delineate it on cadastral map:
    • the plan should meet the published deed plan criteria;
    • deeds relating to seabed plots must contain boundary coordinates; and
    • any reference to an approved development plan must be correct.
  • No part of the plot should compete with an existing registered title.
  • Requisitions and amendments

    An invalid deed or defective application cannot be made good by producing additional evidence or information after an application has been submitted. As the general application conditions and the conditions of registration are tied to the date of the application, the application must be acceptable on that date to avoid rejection.

    If a deed is defective at the time of submission it is not possible to correct or amend it. The deed fails to be valid at the date of registration and must be rejected. The 2012 Act allows for no flexibility on this matter.

    There are a limited number of circumstances in which it may be appropriate for us to make a requisition.

    • To reinforce information provided in the application regarding the existence of a public right of way, a core path, or a servitude created by prescription.
    • Where an extension of warranty is sought in terms of section 75(1)(a) of the 2012 Act, further evidence may be required to that provided with the application e.g., to extend warranty to a right to mines and minerals.
    • Further evidence may be required in relation to the requirements for evidence set out under section 43 of the 2012 Act for prescriptive claimants.
    • Where the search in the Register of Inhibitions discloses an entry, it may be necessary to request confirmation that the name match disclosed is not that of the party in the application.
    • Where a supporting deed has been submitted in error, it may be possible to substitute it for the correct one.

    It is important to note that such requisitions will only be possible where the application meets the general application conditions and the conditions of registration at the date of registration.

    Acceptance, rejection, notification and withdrawal

    We endeavour to accept or reject applications at the earliest possible stage. Obvious errors will result in rejection on the day that the application is received. More complex rejection reasons may take longer to establish.

    We will notify both the applicant and the granter (or their respective agents) depending on the contact information provided with the application. We provide notification by electronic means only. We may also notify any other person we consider appropriate, depending on the circumstances of the application.

    When an application is rejected the notification will contain the reason for rejection and refer to the relevant condition under which it failed.

    In the event of your application being rejected or withdrawn please give consideration to the impact this may have on any duty you have to make a submission to the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI).

    You may withdraw your application at any time. Withdrawal may be necessary when an item has been omitted or when there is an error in the application.


    1. There are certain deeds and documents that the Keeper will no longer require to examine as part of an application for registration:
      • It will no longer be necessary to produce the prescriptive progress of title. The applicant will instead be asked to confirm that examination of title that has been carried out prior to submission of the application.
      • It will no longer be necessary to produce mid-couples or links in title such as Powers of Attorney, with an application for registration. The applicant will instead be asked to certify, where appropriate, that links in title are in place and that the granter of the deed has legal right to grant the deed.
    2. It will no longer be necessary to submit additional application forms for dual registration purposes. In terms of section 31(2)(b), in order for the Keeper to complete registration of a deed, she must make the necessary changes to each title sheet the deed relates to. An additional fee will be charged for each title sheet affected, and if the appropriate fee is not paid this will result in rejection. However, where either property is in the Register of Sasines, a separate Sasine Application Form will be required for dual registration purposes.

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