Scottish tenancy legislation amended following Supreme Court ruling

Legislation aimed at correcting a legal issue with Scottish land tenancies will be signed into law today (Wednesday April 2, 2014).

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 must be amended, because a subsection of that Act breached the rights of landlords under the European Convention on Human Rights.

This related to situations where dissolution notices were served in limited partnership arrangements during the narrow window from September 16, 2002 – June 30, 2003. The 2003 Act allowed full 1991 agricultural tenancies to exist under certain circumstances.

The Remedial Order is estimated to apply to fewer than 25 cases and comes into force tomorrow (Thursday April 3, 2014).

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead said:

“This has been an extremely complex legal case that has led to a great deal of uncertainty hanging over part of the tenant farming sector – although, thankfully, the number of cases involved is much smaller than originally thought.

“I am fully aware of the stress this has caused and hope that the passing of this Order provides clarity to those who have been waiting for answers and whose lives have been put on hold whilst this has been pending.

“The Order provides for individual tenancy arrangements to be amended and I am grateful to industry organisations and the Scottish Parliament’s RACCE committee for all their help preparing this solution.

“In order to help reach fair and balanced outcomes, the Scottish Government is funding independent mediation for the small number of landlords and tenants affected and I urge all affected parties to take up this offer.”

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