Small landholdings legislation: guide to the law in Scotland

There are only a few Small Landholdings left in Scotland and these are governed by complex, historic legislation. This guide summarises key legal elements for those with an interest.


Due to the complexity of the legislation regarding Small Landholdings in Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Agricultural Holdings Team commissioned the creation of a Legal Guide to assist those involved or interested in this sector of Scottish agriculture. To do this, they appointed Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, Bt QC, who is a specialist in law in agriculture, crofting, rural property as well as landlord and tenant issues. He is the author of numerous published legal textbooks including on Agricultural Law and Crofting Law. He is a recognised expert in these legal areas and has been ranked by Chambers as a “Star Individual” for Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

While it is recognised that this very complex area of law needs to be clearly detailed, it is also important that a lay-person can understand the general requirements of Small Landholdings legislation. To assist with this, a shorter Plain English version has been created by condensing the full version of Sir Crispin’s Guide.

However, it is important that anyone reading the booklet, where appropriate, should refer to the full version of the Guide so that they clearly understand the fine detail of the applicable legislation and relevant case law. It is also important to state that while the Guide provides detailed references, it should not be solely relied on as the circumstances of each case can differ. Accordingly, it is recommended that specific legal advice is sought for an individual’s own situation.

Layout of the Guide

The condensed version of the Guide primarily uses the same subject headings as the more detailed version. However, whilst it is then a summary, it does provide the page numbers of the detailed version to allow the reader to refer to it in more detail. It also provides the relevant legislation and case law.

Links to the legislation can be found here.


Back to top