History of artl
In line with Government policy on the development of the delivery of public services by electronic commerce, Registers of Scotland has been developed a system of electronic registration of applications for registration of property in the Land Register. This system provides a quicker more efficient and cheaper system of registration. The new system is called Automated Registration of Title to Land (artl) and enables registration of land and property that is already registered in the Land Register with little or no human intervention in the process.
artl introduces paper-free applications in respect of type 2. This includes any transaction by which the whole of the registered land or property is transferred and any transaction by which any charge in or over registered land is created or removed, e.g. mortgage deeds, discharges, etc. artl does not extend to First Registrations and Transfers of Part as registration types 1 and 3 do not lend themselves easily to a concept of automated registration.
Under the system of automated registration, applications to register Dealings are registered electronically, with the Land Register being updated automatically subject to back-office checks by RoS staff.
Any system of land registration must be able to retain public confidence and it is essential that the high level of protection and security that is presently afforded to the public through current registration procedures must continue with any new system of registration. Robust safeguards have therefore been built into the structure of artl. The aim has been to develop a system of registration that will provide improved security.
The artl Project has included many stakeholder groups who are all actively involved in the Project. They include firms of solicitors, financial institutions and their representative bodies, respectively the Law Society of Scotland and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, as well as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Scottish Consumer Council.
The key elements that underpin the artl system of registration are as follows:
- The concept of an "electronic transfer" using "Digital Deeds" rather than paper deeds. Digital deeds are created using templates and certain parts of the deed are pre-populated with information from the register and from other parts of the remainder of the application for registration. The deeds are held in the artl system and authenticated by the solicitors involved in the property transaction.
- The law on format, validity and evidential status of property deeds and certificates of title was contained in primary legislation that envisaged only physically signed or sealed paper documents. Changes have therefore been necessary to ensure that electronically certified digital deeds are legally equivalent to the paper documents that they will replace. This, with other changes, is discussed in more detail on the under legislation.
- PKI system - The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) associated with the artl system allows digital certificates to be made available to artl users under robust, secure and controlled arrangements. Digital certificates provide the means of applying digital signatures to artl electronic documents.
- The artl PKI is of a type known as a closed, tactical PKI. In effect, this means that the digital certificates will be issued to licensed artl users only and they cannot be used for any purpose other than the purposes of artl.
Accreditation of users of the system by RoS.
Positive identification and recording of all actions taken by authorised users, with RoS being able to track and monitor registrations made electronically.
Retention by RoS of all digital deeds.
Automatic processing of applications for registration, subject to appropriate controls, checks and balances.
Registration fees are collected by direct debit arrangement from solicitors; as will Stamp Duty Land Tax (the UK tax on property transactions).
Cost benefits. Details of the registration fees for artl transactions can be found at www.ros.gov.uk/updates
The "registration gap" (the period between settlement of the transaction and the gap between submission to the Keeper and completion of registration) is minimised and in many cases eliminated.
International review of concepts of automated registration undertaken by RoS staff member Ian Burdon under UK Government Study Fellowship.
Ian Burdon’s review published by RoS as book entitled "Automated Registration of Title to Land”.
Decision taken by RoS to adopt automated registration as a corporate objective.
artl project set up with Ian Davis, Head of Legal Services, as Senior Responsible Owner and Andy Martin as Project Manager.
Proof of concept model developed with help of Thorntons, Solicitors, Dundee.
Model exhibited at Law Society Annual Conference.
Discussions held with Inland Revenue about collection of Stamp Duty via artl.
artl Steering Group set up to allow external representation.
Proof of concept model demonstrated to mortgage lenders’ Deeds Conference.
Strong interest expressed by Nationwide and Abbey National Buildin Societies.
Limited artl pilot using proof of concept model run with several law firms.
First parallel application completed by John Leyden of Morton Fraser, with successful results.
Constructive feedback obtained through post-pilot consultation.
Memorial submitted to Professorial Panel (Professors Brymer, Gretton, Paisley & Rennie) on issues raised by artl team and stakeholders.
Presentations made to numerous stakeholders.
artl nominated as Finalist in Society of Computers & Law award for innovation.
Opinion by Professorial Panel delivered.
artl re-cast as major project within RoS Change Programme.
Legislative change requirements investigated: s8 Electronic Communications Act 2000 seen as key to success.
Variable direct debit identified as means of electronic funds transfer.
Key stakeholder representatives, Tom Drysdale & David Preston, appointed.
artl awarded ‘amber light’ by Scottish Executive Gateway Review.
System design initiated by BT, newly appointed IT/business partner of RoS.
artl Implementation Group established by Law Society of Scotland.
Mandates developed to allow solicitors to digitally sign digital deeds for clients.
Digital certification and Public Key Infrastructure identified as preferred methods of providing solicitors with digital signatures for artl.
artl/SDLT linkage enabled by Finance Act 2005.
New artl Demonstrator built and put into use at stakeholder meetings.
Consultation exercise on draft s8 Order undertaken.
“Tell Me Don’t Show Me” questions devised for artl applications.
SDLT payment mechanism approved by HM Revenue & Customs.
Legislative change achieved: artl (Electronic Communications) (Scotland) Order 2006, Land Registration (Scotland) Rules 2006, Fees in the Registers of Scotland Amendment Order 2006, Solicitors (Scotland) (artl Mandates) Rules 2006, etc.
eServices Support Desk Project set up to support artl and other e-services.
Deed templates (Standard Securities, Discharges) obtained from lenders.
artl roadshows provided to Scottish solicitors.
Decision taken by RoS/BT to split artl delivery into 2 releases: (1) “Blue” (Standard Securities, Discharges); (2) “Turquoise” (Dispositions, other deeds).
Licences to use artl granted to more than 500 organisations.
Preparations for rollout of artl stepped up.
“Blue” functionality is trialled: first transactions successfully processed.
1000th artl application processed on 21 December 2007.