Scottish Land Court
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The Scottish Land Court is a Scottish court of law based in Edinburgh with subject-matter jurisdiction for disputes between landlords and tenants relating to agricultural tenancies and matters related to crofts and crofters.1 The Chairman of the Scottish Land Court is ranked as a Senator of the College of Justice. The court was established under section 3 of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act 1911, as amended by the Scottish Land Court Act 1993.2
The duties of the court is to settle disputes, relating to agricultural tenancies and to crofts and crofters, by means of a written decision on the case that is reported in the Scottish Land Court Reports and other publications.3 Although the duties of both bodies are distinct, the court maintains a close relationship with the Lands Tribunal for Scotland (sharing the same office, and with the Chairman of the Land Court also being President of the Lands Tribunal).4
The court does not adjudicate disputes concerning the ownership of land, or disputes between owners of adjoining land concerning the boundaries thereof, but its scope does include disputes between Crofters on these matters. It does not deal with the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 regarding succession, the apportionment of common grazings, or decrofting an area of croft land—which is the scope of the Crofters Commission.5
The Scottish Land Court is made up of the following members (as of 2010):
- Lord McGhie (Chairman)
- Angus Macdonald
- David Houston
- John Smith
Previous chairmen of the Land Court have been:
- 1912–1918: Lord Kennedy
- 1918–1934: Lord St Vigeans
- 1934–1938: Lord Macgregor Mitchell
- 1938–1941: Lord Murray
- 1941–1965: Lord Gibson
- 1965–1978: Lord Birsay
- 1978–1992: Lord Elliott
- 1993–1996: Lord Philip
- 1996–present: Lord McGhie
Decisions of the Scottish Land Court have been in various formats since its inception. Between 1913 and 1963, decisions of the Land Court were published as a supplement to the Scottish Law Review and Reports of Sheriff Court Cases. Since 1982, the Land Court has produced its own volumes of reported decisions each year. From 1964, decisions of the Court have also been reported in the Scots Law Times, in a section dealing with Land Court cases. Additionally, under the terms of s. 18 of the 1886 Act, the court was obliged to make an annual report to the Secretary of State for Scotland on its proceedings, which would then be presented to parliament.6
The court also maintains an online digestnote 1 of all cases, which are organised under the following categories:
In 2012 Lord McGhie will lead a special visit to the site of the Battle of the Braes on Skye to commemorate the centenary of the court's founding. The party will including Lord Bracadale who was born on the island. The group will pass the church in Camustianaviag where the first witnesses to the court gave evidence in 1912 and is expected to acknowledge that the court "stands on the shoulders" of the crofters of the Braes who resisted eviction in 1882.7
- "Scottish Land Court". Scottish Land Court. 2002. Retrieved 26 August 2009. "It has authority to resolve a range of disputes, including disputes between landlords and tenants, in agriculture and crofting."
- "Scottish Land Court Act 1993". Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament 1993 (45) (Office of Public Sector Information). 5 November 1993. pp. 1(1). Retrieved 4 November 2008. "The Scottish Land Court (“the Land Court”) established by section 3 of the [1911 c. 49.] Small Landholders (Scotland) Act 1911 shall continue in being."
- "About the Court:Overview". Scottish Land Court. 2002. Retrieved 26 August 2009. "What does the court do?"
- "Scottish Land Court.org.uk". Retrieved 21 February 2011. "There is a close relationship between the Land Court and the Lands Tribunal for Scotland: they share the same offices, and the Chairman of the Land Court is also President of the Lands Tribunal"
- "Scottish Land Court.org.uk/about.html". Retrieved 21 February 2011. "Various derivatives of the section entitled "What does the Court not do?"."
- "Scottish Land Court.org.uk/records.html". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Ross, David (23 April 2012) "Judges visit island crime scene to mark centenary of land court". Glasgow. The Herald.
- Viewable at http://www.scottish-land-court.org.uk/digest.html.
- scottish-land-court.org.uk, the website of the Scottish Land Court.
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