Skip to main content

Scottish Land Court

The Court centenary

The Scottish Land Court celebrated its centenary on 1 April, 2012. The Court was created by the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act 1911 and came into being on the 1 April, 1912.

To mark the centenary we published a book, No Ordinary Court, with a number of different contributors dealing with different aspects of the history of the Court. We are particularly grateful for the work of three distinguished outside contributors: Professor James Hunter, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, dealing with the dramatic events which led to the first Crofters Commission and eventually the setting up of the Court; Professor Ewen A. Cameron, of the University of Edinburgh, dealing with the political background to the 1911 Act and the turbulent early years of the Court; and Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, QC dealing with the complexities of the modern jurisdiction of the Court under the Agricultural Holdings legislation. The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, himself the author of a highly regarded work on the Law of Agricultural Holdings in Scotland graciously contributed a foreword.

Many past and present members of the Court and staff also contributed freely of their time, skills and memories. In short the book provides many insights into the workings of the court as well as interesting detail of the changing social and cultural conditions in Scotland over the last century and more. The work of the Court derives from the fact that the need to inspect crofts and farms has taken the Court all over Scotland from Shetland to the Borders and, of course, the Highlands and Western Isles. The contributors tell of colourful characters, quirks of law and lawyers, wild weather, turbulent seas, disrupted travel and encounters with local hazards, as well as dealing with the statutory background to its work.

The Centenary was formally marked by a reception in the Court when the Lord Justice Clerk kindly consented to carry out a ceremonial which had been described as “opening the Land Court window”. It was in fact the unveiling of the engraved pane which sat above the door of the Court’s former premises at 1 Grosvenor Crescent, and which has now been mounted in the Courtroom at 126 George Street.

Read more about the beginnings and history of the Court.