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Law Society welcomes Scottish Government action on crofting law anomaly

28 March 2013 | tagged News release

The Law Society of Scotland has today (28 March) welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement that it will take urgent legislative action to deal with the difficulties owner-occupier crofters are facing when decrofting their land.

As the law currently stands, owner-occupier crofters are treated differently to crofting tenants; the 2010 legislation unintentionally prevents owner-occupiers from being able to decroft their land. This has the effect of preventing owner-occupier crofters from building additional properties or indeed selling their land.

Neil Stevenson, Director of Representation and Support at the Law Society of Scotland, said: "I am pleased that the Scottish Government plans to take urgent action to correct the anomalies in the law. The Society has received a number of enquiries from solicitors, expressing concern about how to advise their clients on this matter. I am hopeful that the steps the government will take will provide a solution to this issue."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Decrofting land can enable a house to be built on the land and facilitate crofting land being passed from one generation to the next.

The Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 created a new category of crofter - the owner-occupier. It was the intention of the government and parliament that tenant and owner-occupier crofters be treated equally under the Act.

While previously there were separate provisions within the crofting legislation for both croft tenants in advance of purchase, and landlords of vacant crofts, to apply to the Crofting Commission (or Crofters Commission as it then was) for a direction that their croft, or part of it, cease to be a croft, the introduction of a new category of owner-occupier crofter caused difficulties in relation to this.

Although the 1993 Act was amended to extend the existing decrofting provisions to owner-occupier crofters, it is only concerned with the situation where a croft is vacant, and as crofts occupied by owner-occupier crofters are not vacant, it is not currently competent for the Commission to make a decrofting order on application from an owner-occupier crofter.

For further information: Journalists can contact Julia Brown on 0131 476 8204 or Val McEwan on 0131 476 8115 or 07825 206 468. For the out of hours service please call 0131 226 8884.

Email: juliabrown@lawscot.org.uk or valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

28 March 2013

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