Agriculture

The consultation commenced on 22nd November 2013 and closed on 7th February 2014.

As a result of the consultation, the Government laid a further draft Remedial Order before the Parliament on 25th February, with a view to the RACCE Committee reaching a view by 4th April.

The new draft contains only three minor changes to the draft produced at the start of the consultation and these are all technical in nature. One of these changes was necessary because the original draft would have applied the remedy to dissolution notices served after 1st July 2003.

As required by the Conventions Rights (Compliance) Scotland Act 2001, the Minister has produced a statement of"Observations and Reasons", which is an enlightening read and sets out the reasons why the Government has adopted the approach in the Order, despite the comments of those consulted.

Even though the Order was necessary because a previous Parliament was found to have acted punitively towards landowners to the extent that infringed their human rights (which sets the baseline of civilisation), the Minister refuses to offer any apology. It is"neither possible nor advisable" to accept"generic liability on behalf of the previous administration".

It is confirmed that, even if the ongoing Review introduces an absolute right to buy, this will not apply to limited partnership tenancies, or converted 1991 Act tenancies which were formerly limited partnership tenancies.

There are differing views as to whether claims for damages against the Scottish Government would be subject to a one year or a five year limitation period. The Minister will only say that, if landowners take up the offer of Government funded mediation, the clock will not start running until the end of the mediation period. However, no such undertaking is given where landowners have entered into agreements with the general partners in order to avoid creating a 1991 Act tenancy.

If this passes through Parliament, which must be expected, the next question is whether it will do enough to satisfy the Court of Session. The Court still has the option to refuse the remediation and declare section 72 not law.



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