Race winner

The battle over the purchase of an Aberdeen flat, which threatened to plunge Scotland's 200-year-old conveyancing system into chaos, means the winner of the 'race to the register' - the first to have the title deeds to a property recorded - will be regarded as the rightful owner in law.

Briefly, a Mr Grainger bought a flat in 1990, but before the solicitors acting on his behalf recorded his title to the property in the Land Register the transferring owner - Carlene Burnett - was sequestrated. Since the property was still officially registered in her name, the trustee of her estate laid claim to the flat.

The House of Lords in deciding this 'exceptional and troublesome' case found that,
"In Scots law the competition between the trustee and the uninfeft purchaser [someone who holds a deed but has not recorded the title] or creditor with an unrecorded heritable security, is a struggle in deadly earnest with the aim of destroying the other competitor's chance to obtain the real right by recording the relevant deed and infefting himself first".

This case means that one's deeds must be registered as soon as possible because if somebody else beats you to it and they have deeds, obtained in good faith, then they win that race.

Article on the Scotsman

What is infeft?
In an extract from an article in Burke's Peerage & Gentry, "The terminology of feudalism was soon in universal use: the superior who granted the feu; the vassal who rendered feudal service in return for the grant; and the all important ceremony of sasine (seisin), by which the vassal was given symbolic possession by the superior or his representative on the lands in question, and without which the vassal could not be said to be properly infeft, or 'clothed with' the feu."

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