HC Deb 04 August 1965 vol 717 cc334-5W
Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Government now accept the recommendation of the Reid Committee that registration of title to land should be introduced in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ross

The Reid Committee examined two main criticisms of the present conveyancing system, which is based on the registration of deeds—that it is unnecessarily expensive and that it imposes unnecessary burdens on the legal profession. The Committee recommended that systems of registration of title or certification of title were practicable ways of meeting these criticisms. Such innovations would involve substantial and important alterations in our methods of conducting transactions in land, and accordingly all the interested bodies have been given an opportunity to comment on this recommendation.

The overwhelming majority of these bodies favour a change in the present system of registration of deeds; and, as between registration and certification of title (which was suggested by a minority of two on the Reid Committee), the preponderance of opinion is in favour of full registration of title. The Government have now had an opportunity of considering this matter, and we accept in principle that registration of title should be introduced in Scotland as soon as possible.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Reid Committee, I propose after consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend, the Lord Advocate, to appoint an expert Committee of five persons with the following terms of reference:

"To prepare, in the light of the Report by Lord Reid's Committee (Cmnd. 2032), a detailed scheme for the introduction and operation of registration of title to land in Scotland with a view to the preparation of a Registration of Title Bill".

I am happy to say that Professor G. L. F. Henry, Professor of Conveyancing in the University of Edinburgh, has accepted my invitation to serve as Chairman of the new Committee. I will announce the names of the other members as soon as possible.