Ahead of the Crofting Law Conference in Edinburgh today The Scotsman have published an article with the headline ‘Crofters to lobby for key changes to ‘complicated’ laws‘.
They quote Patrick Krause, Chief Executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, as saying:-
Crofting law is notoriously complicated and the waters have been further muddied after the 2010 Crofting Act.
Crofting is unique in Scotland by having its own legislation and being a regulated system. It is therefore is essential that the legislation is fit for purpose.
The act needed cleaning up before the 2010 changes. This is unfinished business.
Unfortunately the 2010 introduced further errors and anomalies. The Sump gathered 126 of these and probably the only way to address them is with a new act.
Politicians are a bit reluctant to do this, but SCF is asking parliamentary candidates to finish the job.
And they also quote Brian Inkster, in his capacity as Hon Secretary of the Crofting Law Group, as saying he hopes today’s conference will set the agenda for crofting reform by the next Scottish government. Brian told The Scotsman:-
On Monday I will be spending much of the day arguing before the Scottish Land Court the significance of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 having deleted the word ‘or’ in a section of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993.
The result could be an unintended consequence. This is a good example of the problems that the 2010 Act has been causing since its introduction. It was an extremely badly drafted piece of legislation on top of existing complex law.
There remain numerous problems and issues in the legislation that can trip up the unwary on a daily basis. The current government pledged to resolve matters, and the next government really must seize the bull by the horns and sort the mess out once and for all. That will involve a comprehensive new crofting act that is well drafted, easily understood and designed to resolve the existing problems and not create any new ones.
MSP Alex Fergusson has referred to recent crofting legislation being like the Hydra. You think you have solved a problem but suddenly two new ones appear. The next Scottish government simply can’t afford to let that happen again.
We will provide a full report on today’s Conference after the event.