Further to Brian Inkster’s letter, the information that the Crofting Register will show was considered carefully by Parliament and is prescribed by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. The register, which became operational on 30 November 2012, is fully compliant with those requirements. Should legislation require that additional information be captured and shown on the face of the register, we at RoS would ensure the register is so compliant.
We are aware that there have been some calls to consider the inclusion of further information, particularly shares in common grazings and sublets. The Scottish Government and RoS are considering how best common grazings shares can be noted on the new register. Mr Inkster will be aware from his ongoing discussions with us and Government colleagues that this matter requires careful consideration. The potential benefits have to be weighed against the potential for increased legal challenge. Any such changes will also require consideration of the existing primary legislation.
Information on common grazings shares, where this has been supplied by grazings clerks, is already publicly available from the Crofting Commission. The Scottish Government is also considering the additional trigger point for first registration; however, Mr Inkster is already aware that there is no intention to record sublets in the new register.
Mr Inkster also highlights the recent Land Court decision (SLC/121/11) about the grazing shares of non-crofters, in effect a deemed croft. That decision raises some interesting points in relation to the requirement on the Keeper (2010 Act, s 8(2)(a)) to refuse an application if the subjects cannot be identified by reference to the OS map. That may present challenges for the applicant if the desire is to register the deemed croft in its own right, as it is not an area of land with defined boundaries, particularly if the common grazings from which it originates have not been registered. However, such deemed crofts will be apparent from the face of the Crofting Register, as the non-crofters’ share will form part of the registration schedule for the common grazings. In this respect they are being treated exactly the same as other crofters and owner-occupier crofters who have a share in common grazings.John King, Director of Registration, Registers of Scotland