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Scottish Land Court

Practice Note (No. 2)

Resumption of Croft House Sites

The Court have recently been asked to consider a number of applications in which the landlord seeks to resume the site of an existing croft dwellinghouse for the purpose of conveying it either to the crofter respondent or to a third party.

In terms of Section 20 of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993, before a resumption can be authorised, the Court must be satisfied that the purpose for which the resumption is sought is a reasonable one having relation to the good of the croft or of the estate or to the public interest. In some cases, the separation of the croft house from the remainder of the croft may not be considered to be for the good of the croft. Equally, it may not be considered to be for the good of the estate or in the public interest.

When the Court does authorise resumption, the Act ceases to apply to the land resumed and the Court has held that it has no power to enforce continuing conditions affecting that land.

In order to be satisfied that a particular application seeks resumption for a reasonable purpose, the Court will in future require to have as much information about the circumstances of the case as is possible. It will not be considered sufficient simply to declare that resumption is craved in order to convey the croft house site to the crofter respondent. The reasons why it is sought to be done by way of resumption will require to be given. The necessary information must be set out in the statement of facts appended to the application to the Court.

Attention is drawn to the provisions of section 12 of the Act, which entitle a crofter to a conveyance of the site of the croft house as of right, and to the provisions of section 25(1)(b), which oblige the Crofters Commission to give a decrofting direction in relation to a croft house site of which the crofter is entitled, or has been entitled, to a conveyance. In cases in which the Court is not satisfied from the terms of the application and any accompanying documentation that a reasonable purpose has been made out a hearing and inspection may be ordered. In these circumstances, agents may wish to consider the alternative course of applying to the Crofters Commission for a decrofting direction.