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Scottish Standard Clauses & Missives

An overview of the basics.

The Scottish Standard Clauses (Edition 1), designed to represent a Scotland-wide approach to standard clauses for use in residential conveyancing transactions, came into effect on 5 January 2015 and were replaced by Edition 2 which came into effect on 3 May 2016 and to date we are now well into it's 5th Edition

It is hoped the Scottish Standard Clauses will lend greater certainty and efficiency in concluding missives than that afforded by the regime of regional standard missives.

See The Scottish Standard Clauses (Edition 5) Click Here

All In The Detail

The basis of all property transactions is set in a binding contract, otherwise known as the missives. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the deal is done when in fact the parties are still negotiating the deal. When negotiating either party can walk away. In the absence of any pre-contract deposit or agreement, neither party would hold liability. Yet when is the contract binding? This is an issue that you must really check with your lawyer. Do not make the assumption or take anyone’s word for it as contracts are slippery at best.

Avoiding The Contract

So you have a contract and one party is in breach (not sticking to the deal) or attempting to get out of a contract? Even after contracts are concluded many lawyers place conditions within the contract which allow their clients to withdraw without cost if specific conditions are not met. The most general conditions tend to be around the searches over the property, coal reports, debt and insolvency and in many cases if the property is badly damaged. Again we must stress that you check with your conveyancing lawyers as not every contract is the same.

Shakespeare’s Advocate

The final throw of the dice is when the creative lawyer uses a legal gray area in the contract. Highlighted in Shakespeare’s Shylock – Merchant of Venice. Unfortunately this approach being less cut and dry is more use full as a line of argument if the parties go to court to settle the deal. This, in our opinion is never a very equitable path and negotiation or mediation may prove a better remedy.

Court Action

Over the years very few people tend to seek court action to enforce domestic contracts. Given these facts and costs involved we always urge clients to check and double check that they have all in place. Funds, documents, bank details and always work with your lawyer to ensure that things happen when they need to. Secondly, sellers ensure that all documents are in place and you help progress all the questions put to your lawyers by the purchasers. If purchasing ensure that all your funding is in place and you have clear instructions from your bank and your valuer. In all cases your lawyers work with you providing the expert advice and as such we urge you to call your conveyancing Lawyers if you have ANY legal questions.

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From when you decide to Sell, Purchase, Tranfer or Re Finance your property, we are here to help. We have a proven track record for over 10 Years in Scottish property (Residential and Commercial) of helping save thousands of pounds. From help to appoint an Estate Agent, Negotiation Tips, Legal Guides and practical advice. Just drop us an email or phone or if easier read through our extensive Online Guides.


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Knowing & Asking Is Always Better Than Assuming What Is Happening.


Assumptions create 70% of all conveyancing stress and issues. We make assumptions every minute of every day. Something happens and we instantly assign meaning to it. That is an assumption. Yet conveyancing and the residential legal system in Scotland is constantly changing and so does what your solicitor is reqired by law to do and what is required of you. We start imagining and reasoning what is going on, we look at social media and ask friends, what they think, what they experienced. We rationalise an entire assumed story based on assumptions and we believe it. One assumption leads to another assumption; we jump to conclusions and we take it personally. Almost all conflicts and desisions we take are based on assumptions. Assumptions are nothing more than false stories that we are telling ourselves. They create a big drama for no reason because they aren’t based on fact. If you really want to avoid the stress of moving, ensure that your experience is a possitive one and you are informed, why not just ask your property solicitor?

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