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Review launched into cases of titles of ownership

CASES of families who have been fighting a long-running battle to become legal owners of their properties are to be considered as part of a new independent review.

The Law Society of Scotland confirmed former ­Sheriff principal Edward Bowen will look into the consumer protections in place for buying and selling property.

The review follows the discovery of complex cases in Blackburn, West Lothian, which were highlighted by The Herald's investigation last year.

That found four families who have paid out tens of thousands of pounds in mortgage repayments and legal fees had no title to ownership for their properties in spite of buying the homes almost 15 years ago.

A case in Aberdeenshire with similar circumstances has also since emerged.

The Law Society said the review will also look at current conveyancing practices and the existing legal framework to see whether improvements can be made.

Law Society president Bruce Beveridge, said: "We have an important duty to protect the interests of the consumers of legal services, a responsibility which we take extremely seriously.

"Whilst the vast majority of Scottish solicitors provide an excellent service for their clients, we also need a robust set of consumer protections to help clients in those very few occasions when things go wrong.

"These difficult and very complicated conveyancing cases in West Lothian and Aberdeenshire have ­understandably left some questioning whether the protections in place are as robust as they could be."

Mr Bowen is expected to report back to the Law Society later this year.

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