I have been blogging for some time about the Crofting Commission ignoring the law.
They have done so in relation to, amongst other things:-
- The Removal of Common Grazings Committees from office
- The appointment of Grazings Constables
- Conflict of Interest
- Management of Grazings Funds
They have, however, this past week made a massive U-turn which could just mean they now actually accept that they did in fact completely ignore the law.
It also, unfortunately, transpired at the meeting of the Cross Party Group on Crofting on Wednesday that they are now simply ignoring lawyers who take a different viewpoint from them and/or represent crofters challenging their stance.
When Commissioner Murdo Maclennan announced that he “thought we have a conclusion” on Mangersta and there was “no grazing constable in place at the moment“, I asked how this could be when I thought that the Commission had purported to extend the appointment of the Grazing Constable (illegally appointed in my opinion and in the opinion of others) for a further six months from and after 6 June 2016.
Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission, Catriona Maclean, interjected that:-
there is no constable at present, the case is over and the people of Mangersta will be advised.
I questioned why they had not advised the solicitor acting of this (i.e. me) and she responded:-
We have been in correspondence with the people of Mangersta and that is who we will respond to.
I pointed out that they had been in correspondence with a solicitor representing former members of the (unlawfully in my opinion) removed grazings committee and they should be responding to that solicitor.
There then appeared to be a reluctant acceptance that I might hear from them!
The Crofting Commission appear to think they can simply bury their ignorance of the law by taking a U-turn and not responding to questions raised by a solicitor concerning that ignorance of the law. The fact that they have acted contrary to the law remains and they do require to answer outstanding points in correspondence that sits unanswered on the desk of their Chief Executive.
They still need to answer, amongst other things:-
- Where in law it is stated that the Crofting Commission cannot revisit its own decisions.
- Where in law it is stated that the Crofting Commission has the power to appoint a Grazings Constable when they remove members of a grazing committee from office.
- Where in law it is stated that the Crofting Commission can extend the appointment of a Grazings Constable.
- Why the Crofting Commission is ignoring its own guidelines on the investigation of financial irregularities.
Perhaps they do now accept, given that U-turn, that nowhere in law is any of this stated and therefore they are unable to answer my questions. They should, if that is the case, at least have the dignity to say so.
I will let you know if and when the Crofting Commission deign to respond to me.