Crofting community right to buy
26 May 2010
The Land Reform Act 2003 is one of a number of early Acts of the Scottish Parliaments which aimed to reform landownership in Scotland. Part 1 establishes rights of access over land, and Parts 2 and 3 give rights to communities and crofting communities to buy land. Parts 2 and 3 provide mechanisms by which the ownership of land can be transferred to the communities who live and work there. The idea is that communities will then be empowered to remove barriers to rural development. The policy aim is that current issues of population decline and the absence of social and economic opportunities will be reversed.
The legislation is not always popular with landowners. In Pairc Renewables Ltd and Pairc Crofters Ltd  CSOH a landowner and tenant sought interim orders preventing the Scottish Ministers from inviting views on an application from a crofting community to buy land. The petitioners challenge the Land Reform Act 2003 as being contrary to Convention Rights, and consequently outwith legislative competence (Article 1 of Protocol 1). They also argue that there are various defects in the crofting community's application.
Lord Matthews refused interim orders, finding both that there was no prima facie case and that the balance of convenience favoured the Scottish Ministers.
Anna Poole of Axiom Advocates acted on behalf of the Scottish Ministers.
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