Frankie McCarthy, James Chalmers and Stephen Bogle (eds), Essays in Conveyancing and Property Law in Honour of Professor Robert Rennie

Date01 January 2016
Published date01 January 2016

The conveyancing world, Professor Robert Rennie remarked recently, has changed beyond recognition since he qualified in 1969 ((2014) 59(11) JLSS 13). A year after he received his practicing certificate, Scotland saw the introduction of the standard security, and reform continued apace with the opening of the Land Register, abolition of feudal tenure, and a host of accompanying reforms to title conditions and tenement law.

However, it is fitting that this Festschrift, written in honour of the author of Conveyancing in the Electronic Age (2008), looks to the future of conveyancing and property law, rather than wallowing in the past. The book is nominally divided into sections, with three essays under the heading “The Future of Property Law”. A full quarter of the book is devoted to analysis of the new Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 – including a very valuable contribution by Ann Stewart on the use of Advance Notices in the first six months since enactment. Other contributions discuss the practical effects of the new legislation or analyse the way it interacts with the underlying theory of property law.

Nonetheless, the past is not ignored in this volume. Hector MacQueen, lead law commissioner on the recent project on the execution and counterpart delivery project, places the project in its historical context, discussing the use of distance contracting until the mid-nineteenth century. There are also interesting histories both of the Glasgow Chair of Conveyancing – the seat now retiring, along with Professor Rennie himself – and of Professor Rennie's career.

Lord Bonomy's fifteen page biography presents a more intimate view of one of property law's most distinguished practitioners and academics. Of particular interest is the discussion of Professor Rennie's annual dinner for his Honours students, to which the great and the good of Scots Law were invited. Not only did this allow lawyers at the beginning of their careers to see the human side of those they looked up to but also taught them that no-one was too high to be mocked by the “Little Professor”. Lord Hodge notes being introduced by Professor Rennie with delight as “losing counsel in Sharp v Thomson” (1996 SC (HL) 66).

Whilst the focus of the book is rightly on the big issues facing the future of conveyancing and land registration, there are also a number of contributions on more esoteric areas of the law. Sheriff Cusine provides an extensive discussion of the meaning of res merae facultatis...

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