The land of Scotland and the common good: report

The final report of the Land Reform Review Group.

Part Two The Ownership of Land


1 The concept of ownership is central to how the land of Scotland is used. The ownership of land or land rights conveys the right to use the land or right as the owner chooses, subject to the legal terms of their ownership and the statutory provisions governing the use of land.

2 Scotland's system of land ownership is defined by Scots law and there have been major improvements in these property laws since devolution. One of the first Acts of the new Scottish Parliament was to abolish Scotland's archaic system of feudal land tenure as the main way by which land was owned in Scotland. [1] That change and others since have been important and long overdue modernisations of Scotland's laws of land ownership. This process of modernisation is on-going, as illustrated by recent legislation by the Scottish Parliament. [2]

3 The Review Group considers further modernisation and reform is required and in this Part of the Report, the Group examines four particular issues:

  • the slow progress in developing a comprehensive, map based register of land ownership in Scotland;
  • the limited constraints on the types of legal bodies that can own land in Scotland;
  • the continuing distinction between land and other forms of property in the law of succession in Scotland;
  • the archaic nature of the laws in Scotland governing the compulsory purchase of land by public authorities.


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