The cadastral map

This guidance provides an overview of the cadastral map and its requirements for registration.

The cadastral map is a map of Scotland showing the totality of registered real rights in land. It consists of cadastral units, which each represent a single registered plot of land.  Cadastral units include geospatial data, including rights and burdens, pertaining to each registered plot.

All applications to register an unregistered plot of land must sufficiently describe that plot for us to delineate it on the cadastral map.

Introduction

A cadastral map is an internationally recognised term for a map showing legal title.  The Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 (1979 Act), did not set out to create a cadastral map, but through time that is what has happened. It envisaged that each title sheet would have its own plan. To co-ordinate the myriad of title plans, the Land Register Rules provided that the Keeper would maintain an index map. Initially, the paper index map only reflected the extent of the title boundaries; essentially this was the foundation of the cadastral map.  However, with the introduction of the Keeper’s digital mapping system (DMS), rights and burdens over land were also captured and displayed in the index map.  The Land Register index map has become a map of Scotland delineating all registered rights, title and interests in land.

The Scottish Law Commission stated in their Report on Land Registration that mapping is of central importance to the Land Register. The Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 (the 2012 Act) supports this and puts the creation of the cadastral map on a statutory basis, introducing it as part of the Land Register. The Ordnance Survey map continues to be the base map for the Land Register and therefore for the cadastral map.

Map requirements

Cadastral units and title sheets

As noted, the de facto ‘cadastral map’ of the 1979 Act reflects more than the legal or title extent boundaries of land, and this is continued by the 2012 Act. Under the provisions of section 11(1) of the 2012 Act, the cadastral map must reflect the totality of registered geospatial data, whether that is exclusive or common rights of ownership, or other rights and burdens pertaining to a plot of land.

Where the index map brings together the information reflected on title plans, the cadastral map is comprised of the registered geospatial data for each cadastral unit. Each unit must comprise: the cadastral unit number, the boundaries of the unit, the title number of any registered lease affecting the plot of land, along with any other registered rights that affect the plot. The cadastral map, and therefore the cadastral unit, must also reflect any encumbrances that affect only part of a registered plot.

The 2012 Act clearly identifies and defines the relationship between the plot of land, the title sheet record, and the cadastral map. Section 3(1) sets out that the Keeper must make up and maintain a title sheet for each registered plot of land. Section 12 states that a cadastral unit represents a single registered plot of land, further declaring that: (1) an area of land cannot be included in more than one cadastral unit, (2) the cadastral unit number shall be the title number for the plot, and (3) the title number is allocated to the relevant title sheet. Therefore, the correlation is: 1 registered plot of land = 1 cadastral unit = 1 title sheet (the only exceptions to this being leasehold and tenemental properties).

The property section of the title sheet must describe the registered plot by reference to the cadastral map. For example:

“Subjects, cadastral unit MID23456, being 24 Wolsey Avenue, Bonnyrigg, EH19 3LU, edged red on the Cadastral Map.”

In terms of the 2012 Act, a plot of land is defined as an area or areas of land owned by one person or one group of people. The Keeper's policy is to group discontiguous areas of land that are relative to each other with a common purpose as a single cadastral unit, whilst retaining discretion to register the areas of land as multiple cadastral units. Therefore, a cadastral unit may consist of a single area of land, or multiple discontiguous areas of land.

Where the area of measurement for a cadastral unit extends to, or is greater than 0.5 hectares, the title sheet must include the area of measurement in the property description of the plot.

Mapping considerations

As noted, the base map for the cadastral map is the Ordnance Survey map. Under section 11(7) of the 2012 Act there is a duty on the Keeper to update and make consequential changes in the register and cadastral map when the base map is updated. The specifications of the base map mean that there are inherent restrictions and limitations in terms of scaling and accuracy.  Section 65(3) states that the cadastral map is not inaccurate where it does not depict something correctly as a result of an inexactness in the base map, so the provisions relating to warranty are not engaged.

The 2012 Act also specifies that the land register, and thus the cadastral map, incorporates land covered by water, including the seabed of the territorial waters to the 12 nautical mile limit adjacent to Scotland.

View further guidance on seabed and land covered by water.

The 2012 Act provides new rules on mapping that mean that cadastral units cannot overlap.

Areas that are owned in common must have their own cadastral unit and corresponding title sheet. Where ownership of the common area is as a consequence of ownership of another plot the Keeper may designate the common area a shared plot, with the title sheets to be known as shared plot title sheets.

Overlapping cadastral units

As noted, cadastral units cannot overlap, therefore where the extent of the plot to be registered overlaps with an existing registered title, i.e. there is a conflict or competition in title with a registered plot of land, the application for registration must be rejected, as the plot cannot be mapped. The Act clearly states that the same area of land cannot be represented by more than one cadastral unit.

In terms of other mapping considerations, the conditions of registration detailed in Part 2 of the Act stipulate that the deed must sufficiently describe the plot to enable its boundaries to be delineated on the cadastral map and applications not meeting this requirement will be rejected. Applicants should consider the Keeper's guidance at Mapping Common Areas where the common area was inadequately described in a deed recorded or registered prior to 8 December 2014.

Encumbrances

Also, where the plot is partially affected by a registrable encumbrance, the plan or description submitted must sufficiently describe the area to ensure the Keeper can delineate the part affected by the encumbrance on the cadastral map. Similarly, where a servitude benefits the plot being registered and affects a specific area of land that can be identified on the cadastral map, the application should include a plan or sufficient description of the extent.  Where an application requests registration of a deed constituting a new registrable encumbrance that affects either part of the plot being registered or part of a registered plot, we will reject the application if it does not contain sufficient information to allow the Keeper to delineate the part affected on the cadastral map, unless the encumbrance is a right to lead pipes, cables and wires or other such enclosed units in or over land.

View further guidance on mapping encumbrances.

Footnotes

  1. Scottish Law Commission, Report on Land Registration (Scot Law Com No. 222) paragrah 5.1.
  2. In terms of section 11 (1) (a) with information being supplied under sections 23 (1) (d), 25 (1) (c) and 26 (1) (d) of the 2012 Act.
  3. An example would be a farm bisected by a road: it is farmed as a single farm although the two parts are not contiguous.
  4. Existing title sheets can continue to overlap by operation of the 2012 Act transitional provisions in schedule 4.