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 an overview of essential criteria for your registration application and your deed. It’s up to you to provide all the documents and information necessary for registration.

We can’t hold your application while you resolve any issues. If there is a problem with your application, you’ll need to resubmit an amended version.

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

Right first time

One of the drivers of the Act is that applicants should get their applications right first time, and that bad applications should simply be rejected. This is in essence the “one-shot rule”.

The Keeper’s decision on registration should be based on the “state of the legal universe” as at the date of application, since registration is deemed to have taken place on that date. If a defective application is accepted, the deed being registered would essentially take effect from a date on which it was not acceptable by law. If the application falls to be rejected, any evidence that the issue has subsequently been made good cannot be considered as part of that initial application for registration.

Section 21(2) of the Act provides that the Keeper must accept an application for registration of a deed if the applicant satisfies the Keeper that at the date of application the conditions of acceptance have been met. The general application conditions and the conditions of registration are set out at sections 22 and 23 to 26 respectively.  Section 27 relates to applications for voluntary registration of a plot of land, which requires the general application conditions in section 22 and the conditions of registration in section 28 to be met.  If on the date of application the applicant fails in either case, the Keeper must reject the application in terms of section 21(3) or 27(4).

If the deed inducing registration is defective, or if any material documentation has been omitted, it is not possible for the Keeper to retain the case while the issue is resolved. The one-shot rule means that such applications must be rejected, but it does not prevent the applicant from resubmitting an amended application. When resubmitted, the amended application will be given a new date of registration.

Application requirements

As noted above, the criteria for acceptance of an application for registration are split into general application conditions and conditions of registration. As the name suggests, the former set of conditions – set out at section 22 - relate to the application itself, whereas the conditions of registration relate to the deed or plot being registered.

The general application conditions require the application to be in the prescribed form, and require either payment of the fee or that satisfactory arrangements have been made for payment. The application must not relate to a souvenir plot (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 of a prohibition in any other enactment. This latter provision would include, for example, the prohibition on registration under the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013.

Deeds to accompany your application

Section 22(1)(a) provides that the application must be such that the Keeper is able to comply with her duties under Part 1 of the Act. Part 1 sets out the information that must be entered 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. The onus is on the applicant to provide the Keeper with all the documents and information necessary to comply with these duties. If any material information is omitted from the application, this will lead to rejection.

View further guidance on encumbrances and off-register rights.

When submitting an application over an unregistered plot, the applicant will be asked to identify deeds in which burdens are contained, and to highlight any burdens that he or she considers to be extinguished. The Keeper 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 the Keeper has already carried out preparatory work and other deeds that contain burdens have been identified, the Keeper will continue to disclose these burdens in the title sheet notwithstanding that the applicant has not included them.

If the applicant refers to a deed for burdens but does not submit it with the application, the Keeper could reject the application in terms of section 22(1)(a). If, however, the applicant knows that the Keeper has already examined that deed, the applicant can note this on the inventory contained within the application form. The Keeper will not reject the application provided sufficient information is available to enable her to complete her duties under section 9 of the Act.

It is important to note the effect of section 22(1)(a) in relation to applications that trigger registration of the underlying plot of land (“automatic plot registration”). Automatic plot registration occurs where certain deeds are submitted for registration, such as a grant of lease, a sub-lease or an assignation of an unregistered lease. In such cases, the Keeper must register the owner’s plot of land to the extent of the deed being registered. By virtue of section 22(1)(a), the tenant, sub-tenant or assignee must provide the Keeper with the documents and information required to enable the Keeper to make up a title sheet for the plot of land. If they fail to do so, this could lead to rejection of the application to register their deed. 

View further guidance on leases and automatic plot registration.

Conditions of registration

The conditions of registration for a deed are set out in sections 23, 25 or 26 and for a plot of land are set out in section 28, and 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 of application. If the deed being registered fails to meet any of the registration conditions when the Keeper receives it, the Keeper must reject the application in terms of section 21(3) or in respect of voluntary registrations, section 27(4).

View further guidance on voluntary registration.

One of the main conditions of registration, applicable to all deeds being registered, is that the deed must be valid. Section 113(2) defines “validity” for the purposes of the Act:

“A deed on which an application under section 21 is based is “valid” for the purposes of this 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.”

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 be capable of doing what it is purporting to do. This means that, as well as being valid for dispositive effect, a disposition that purports to create real burdens must be constitutive in terms of section 4 of the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003. If it is not, then the deed fails the validity requirement for the purposes of the 2012 Act and the Keeper must reject it. New guidance on title conditions will be issued separately.

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

View our suite of mapping guidance.

Where the 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.  Section 26(2) makes a specific exception in relation to shared plot title sheets.

In terms of section 26(1)(c) a deed submitted for registration over a registered plot must narrate the plot title number.  However, where a deed, for example 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 the Keeper will not reject the application to register the accompanying deed, since the title number could not have been known when the deed was executed.

Deeds should, wherever possible, narrate the title number.  However, as a matter of policy the Keeper will accept a deed that does not narrate the title number provided:

  1. the deed contains an otherwise sufficient description of the subjects or the security being discharged, etc; and
  2. the deed is executed before the provisional title number is known, or is capable of being known; or
  3. the deed is executed up to 28 days after the provisional title number is known.

Your obligations

It is important to note that the onus is on the applicant to satisfy the Keeper that the application meets with the general application conditions and the conditions of registration. The applicant must therefore be satisfied in this regard prior to submitting their application. To this end, the applicant will be asked to certify on the application form that the application meets with the relevant conditions, and the Keeper will rely on this certification when registering the application.

The applicant must therefore certify that the deed being registered is valid, including that the granter has title and capacity to grant the deed. The Keeper will rely on this certification and will carry out no further investigation in this regard. This means the Keeper will not need sight of much of the supporting documentation that would previously have accompanied an application for registration. For example, rather than submitting links in title for examination, or producing the prescriptive progress of title, applicants will certify 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, respectively. In respect of applications for registration, both applicants and granters (and their solicitors) are under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the Keeper does 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.

The Keeper will continue to carry out checks on receipt of an application, to ensure that the application 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. The most likely reasons for rejection of an application are given in the checklist.

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. In terms of the Registers of Scotland (Fees) Order 2014, there is  a flat rejection fee of £30, regardless of what stage of the registration process the application is rejected.

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.
  3. The application does not relate to a souvenir plot, which is a plot of land of inconsiderable size and of no practical utility.
  4. The application form must be signed and dated.
  5. 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.
  6. An application form must be submitted for each deed being registered.
  7. The correct fee must be paid or direct debit arrangements must be in place.
  8. Where appropriate, an LBTT notification and payment arrangement are in place.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 coordinates;
    • any reference to an approved Development Plan must be correct;
    • plans should be prepared in accordance with the Keeper's published deed plan criteria.
  12. For an application over a registered plot or plots, the correct title number(s) must be narrated in the deed.
  13. 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.
  14. No part of the plot should compete with an existing registered title.

Footnotes

  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.