Developments in the Scottish Law of Land Registration

Author:Andrew Steven
Andrew Steven
Scottish Law Commissioner
Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
Developments in the Scottish
Law of Land Registration
1. Introduction
This article considers the background to the recently enacted Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012,
which is due to come fully into force in 2014. A useful starting point may be to draw some general compari-
sons between Scotland and Estonia, with the aid of the following table.*1
Scotland Estonia
Population 5.3 million 1.3 million
Area 78,387 km245,227 km2
Commencement of
public land registration 1617 1747 (though discontinued
in the Soviet era)
Percentage of area
in Land Register
23% (almost all the rest
is in the Register of Sasines)
61% (land held by the state does
not have to be registered;
90% is in cadastre systems)
Registered title units 2.3 million (56% in the Land Register
and 44% in the Register of Sasines) 969,000
Parts of a Land Register
A. Property (mapped)
B. Proprietorship
C. Securities
D. Burdens
1. Cadastral information
2. Proprietorship
3. Burdens
4. Securities
In broad terms, the table simply shows that Scotland is a larger country than Estonia: with a population
four times greater and being one and a half times larger by area. It also has more than double the number
of registered title units. With this in mind, it is perhaps dif cult not to think about 18 September 2014. On
that date, there will be a referendum in Scotland on independence from the United Kingdom. Perhaps the
main argument against separation is that Scotland is in a better position as part of a larger country*2, yet
Scotland is considerably bigger than Estonia.
1 The main sources of the information here are le/estonia/ and
uk/pdfs/landmasscoveragereport2012.pdf (most recently accessed on 29.1.2014).
2 See (most recently accessed on 29.1.2014).

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