As you might remember, as part of our year-long series of events and partnerships to mark 400 years of the General Register of Sasines, we sponsored a Masters in research at the University of Glasgow. We caught up with Michael Arthur, the student undertaking the degree, several times during his studies. His thesis is now complete, and so we spoke with him again to see how his degree developed and what his work will contribute to the study and understanding of land and property registration in Scotland.
Hi Michael. How do you feel now that your thesis is done?
I’m relieved it’s complete! Overall I’m really happy with the piece of work that was done.
Could you give us a quick summary of your thesis?
My thesis was on publicity and privacy in land registration in Scotland, so it investigated how the publicity principle of property law and the protection of privacy could operate alongside one another in the modern land registration system of Scotland. It included a number of recommendations which would enhance privacy protection while still allowing for the publicity principle to be met.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of completing your thesis?
The most enjoyable part of my last year was my trip to the Netherlands to the University of Tilburg to meet with Anna Berlee, a member of staff who was just completing a PhD also looking at publicity and privacy. While there I was also lucky enough to have a coffee with Professor van Erp who is a well-regarded expert in this property law.
And the most challenging part?
I think the most challenging part of the Masters was the time scale and keeping to scope; it was just a one year project and it was touching on a lot of different areas. It was covering publicity as well as privacy, both the harms that invasions to privacy can cause and the various pieces of legislation in place to protect it.
I think we ended up with double the word count at one point! The word count was meant to be 30,000, but my thesis was over 60,000 at one point. My supervisor, Dr Jill Robbie, advised me to keep thinking about what the golden thread was and focus on what was required to answer the actual question in order to cut it down and keep within the time limits.
And finally, what’s next?
I am now starting to do a PHD in a similar area. I am looking at land reform and the common good so no time for a bit of a break I’m afraid!