About Sarah Ramage

Currently training as a Paralegal at Mitchells Roberton Solicitors

2017 The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in Scotland

In the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 we can celebrate the richness of Scotland’s intriguing history, impressive cultural heritage and fascinating archaeology at exciting events. We can explore ancient sites that date from the Neolithic era, uncover the history of the Scottish clans and taste whisky and local delicacies that have been hand crafted in Scotland for years. But alongside the epic landscapes, carved out by icy glaciers millennia ago, towering castles which have stood for centuries and mesmerising stories, traditions and legends having been passed down for generations, unbeknown to me  the Registers of Scotland ,the world’s oldest national register of land and property,  will celebrate its 400th anniversary this year . Wednesday 28 June 2017 will mark 400 years since the General Register of Sasines was created by the Scottish Parliament’s Registration Act 1617.

Sheenagh Adams, the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, said:

“Scotland has always been an innovative nation when it comes to the protection of land, property and the rights of the citizen. From the ancient ceremony of sasine to the development of legally-recorded sasine deeds in the 17th century-as seen in hit – Amazon prime television series Outlander-to our current position as a global leader in digital land registration, Registers of Scotland is unique.”

I wanted to know more and this is what I found out about the Registers of Scotland :

  • In 1248 the first written records of the ancient sasine ceremony were made. Transfers of property were originally by symbolic delivery, by handing over a clump of ground or a stone or similar object on the property itself and then registering the “deed of conveyance” in the local “Register of Sasine.”
  • In 1286 the first inventory and register was housed in Edinburgh Castle.
  • In 1491 there began the first records of ownership not granted by the Crown
  • In 1617 the Registration Act of the old Scots Parliament allowed individuals to have their deeds recorded in official records. The first land register in the world begins- the General Register of Sasines.
  • In 1662 the Records were moved to Parliament Hall on the Royal Mile
  • In 1765 the first purpose built record repository in the world was commissioned: Register House in Edinburgh
  • In 1868 the Land Register Scotland Act introduced reforms to the Sasine and other registers. All information relating to land and property would now be recorded in presentment books, sorted by county and held centrally in Edinburgh.
  • In 1871 search sheets were introduced to reduce the time and cost of searching and producing the registers.
  • Typewriting machines were introduced to replace handwriting on search sheets in 1921 with photocopying being introduced in 1934
  • In 1948 the Office of ‘the keeper’ was split into two bodies: the General Register Office of Scotland and the Registers of Scotland.
  • The Registers of Scotland moved from Register House to Meadowbank House in 1976
  • The Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 introduced the map-based Land Register
  • In 1981 the Land Register went live progressively replacing the General Register of Sasines, county by county.
  • Registers Direct was launched, providing online access to the Land Register in 1999
  • The last legal ceremony of sasine is performed as Glenmorangie handed over the land of St Mary’s chapel in Easter Ross to the Cadbol Trust in 2002
  • The final county is moved from the General Register of Sasines to the Land Register in 2003
  • In 2007 customers could register their title deeds online for the first time as ARTL (automatic registration of title to land) goes live
  • The Land Registration Act etc (Scotland) 2012 allowed the introduction of electronic documents, signatures and registration and the phasing out of the General Register of Sasines.
  • In 2014 Scottish ministers invite the Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register in ten years with all public land being registered in five years.
  • In 2017 Registers of Scotland celebrates 400 years of Land Registration.

The Keeper Ms Adams has said “We are delighted to announce our programme of events for our 400th anniversary year.”

“RoS has commissioned, through an open competition , a unique piece of public art to symbolise our centuries –old commitment to serving the people of Scotland. The artwork, like our registers, will be publicly available to view and will be held for the people of Scotland.”

Posted by Sarah Ramage Trainee Residential Conveyancing paralegal

Another Smoke Free Space

From the 5th December 2016 smoking was banned in cars carrying children aged 18 and under. The new legislation will mean fines of up to £100 for anyone who lights up in a car where there is a child as a passenger.

MSPs unanimously voted to introduce the ban in December last year. The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Bill was introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume whose mother died of cancer caused by second hand smoking.  He told MSPs that the concentrations of harmful tobacco particles in the confines of a car were far greater than from smoke from a bar, where smoking has already been banned. He added that:

“Around 60,000 children are put in this position each week in Scotland.” “This legislation will, of course, address that situation and help to ensure that all our young people have the best and healthiest start to life.”

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of health charity Ash Scotland said:

“Children have smaller airways, breathe faster, and their lungs and immune systems are still developing so they are especially vulnerable to health damage from second-hand smoke.”

“Toxic particles can reach harmful concentrations within one minute of lighting a cigarette inside a car, and this law builds on the success of Scotland’s smoke – free public places legislation to offer even more protection for children, who often don’t have a choice about breathing in second-hand smoke.”

“It is also an important step towards the Scottish Government’s vision for achieving a tobacco-free generation, putting smoking out of fashion, by 2034”.

Dr Peter Fowlie, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Care said:

“Scottish Parliament’s move to ban smoking in cars carrying children not only protects children from terrible conditions linked to second-hand smoke such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia and asthma, but also sends a strong signal that smoking is not cool-it kills”.

But smoker’s group Forest have argued that the new legislation represents a worrying intrusion into people’s private lives. Simon Clark their director said:

“We have always felt that legislation is very heavy handed and completely unnecessary as the vast majority of smokers are considerate and do know that it is not a good idea to smoke in a very confined space like a car with children present, and they simply don’t do it.”

He said the ban on smoking in cars with children was important for the anti-smoking lobby as it is the first time that smoking has been banned in a private place. He added:

“This is a stepping stone towards further prohibition.”

Latest Information Regarding Property Prices

The Registers of Scotland have published the following information regarding property prices in Scotland.

  • The average price of a residential property in Scotland has shown an increase of 0.6% during the second quarter of the financial year 2016/2017 compared with the same period in the previous year, with the highest rise of 9.7% being reported in East Renfrewshire.
  • The highest percentage fall was recorded in Aberdeen which reported a decrease of 7.5% in average price compared to the same quarter the previous year to £200,790
  • The volume of residential property sales in Scotland in the quarter July to September was 269,824- a decrease of 1.1% compared to the previous year.
  • Edinburgh recorded the highest volume of sales at 3,334, a fall of 3.2% compared with the same quarter the previous year.
  • The total value of sales across Scotland registered in the quarter July to September decreased by 0.5% compared to the previous year to just under £4.2 billion.
  • The City of Edinburgh was the largest market with sales of £806.2m for the same quarter, an increase of 2.3% on the previous year.
  • Aberdeen showed the largest decrease in market value of 31.6% to £209m compared to the same quarter last year.
  • Detached and semi detached properties showed an increase of 0.3% in the average price for these types of properties, while terraced and flatted properties decreased by 3.1% and 0.7% respectively. The average price for a detached property is £249,462 while a semi detached property is £160,903.
  • The volume of sales of terraced properties increased by 3.9%

Hotdog and Chips

Jay

On the 6th April 2016 legislation came into force requiring every dog owner to make sure their pet is fitted with a microchip which is then registered on one of the authorised commercial databases along with the owner’s contact details. It is thereafter the owner’s responsibility to keep their contact details up-to-date on the databases. Where a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must, unless the previous owner has already done so, record their details and any change in the dog’s name with the database on which the dog’s details are recorded.

Prior to the legislation coming into force a public consultation was held in 2014 which showed that more than 83% of those that took part favoured making microchipping compulsory. It was thought that the new law would assist as follows:

  • Ownership disputes would be settled more quickly and simply and stolen dogs would become easier to trace
  • The ownership details for any dog found lost or straying could be located effortlessly, greatly increasing the chances of a lost dog being reunited with their owner in a timely manner. This would ease the pressure on dog re-homing shelters as it should reduce the amount of time that a dog will be under their care awaiting collection by their owner.
  • Compulsory chipping should also greatly reduce the number of dogs that are dumped or abandoned each year as the details of their original owners can be traced and prosecution for neglect and abandonment would become easier.

The Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead – the Scottish Government Minister with lead responsibility for animal welfare stated “ Compulsory micro-chipping will help reduce the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland- safeguarding animal welfare and promoting responsible ownership. As well as reuniting pets with their owners, it will allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour and welfare.”

Elvira Meucci Campaigns Director at Dog’s Trust said “ Dog’s Trust greatly welcomes the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in Scotland from April 2016. We have long been a leading voice in the campaign for compulsory microchipping and are delighted to see the Scottish Government legislate for this important component of dog welfare.”

The police and local authorities will be tasked with policing compliance with the scheme and all local authorities and police forces will be issued with microchip scanners to be able to execute their duties effectively. If the police or local authorities find a dog without a microchip after April 2016, the owner will be given 21 days to have their dog microchipped . If they still then fail to comply with the law they will face a fine of up to £500 per dog.

However although there are obvious positives the editor of Dogs Today magazine Beverly Cuddy  warned that the scheme could only ever be as effective as public compliance with it allowed it to be. Many dog owners forget to update the information held about themselves and their dogs on the microchipping databases if they move home or their contact details change.

Also as Sarah Boyack of Scottish Labour states about microchipping “ While today’s announcement is welcome, there is more that the Scottish Government could be doing. Scottish Labour has backed a ban on the sale and use of electric shock collars and we challenge the Scottish Government to match that commitment.”

Nanette Milne MSP for the North East said “There are still a number of complex issues which the compulsory microchipping of all dogs will not address, namely puppy farms and the growth of the sale of puppies and dogs online, as well as the indiscriminate breeding of dogs in social rented property and the lack of enforcement of dog control by local authorities”.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is already a legal requirement in the UK for dogs defined as dangerous dogs to be microchipped. The Scottish Government have also ensured that the owners of other dangerous or out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs by the issue of a Dog Control Notice under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010

The compulsory microchipping legislation does permit vets to exempt dogs from microchipping if in their professional opinion it would adversely affect the dog’s health.