Tag Archives: Ullapool

The Crofting Law A-Team

The Crofting Law A-Team

Martin Minton, Angus Mackay, Brian Inkster, Evonne Morrison and Derek Flyn

Inksters recently strengthened their crofting law team by the addition of three new team members.

Derek Flyn joins Inksters as a crofting law consultant. Derek is one of the best known and most highly respected crofting law experts in Scotland. He co-wrote the first book on crofting law in 1990 and is currently writing a new up-to-date book on crofting law with Keith Graham. He was in recent years the Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation and continues to be their Parliamentary Spokesman.

Derek, together with Keith Graham, produced the Crofting Law Sump Report which highlighted to the Scottish Government in 2014 all of the problem issues requiring to be addressed in crofting law. This is likely to lead to new crofting law legislation during the term of the new Scottish Government.

Derek lives in Beauly and has strong connections with the Isle of Skye where his wife comes from and where he once worked.

Derek will be assisting the crofting law practitioners at Inksters and providing them with specialist advice on complex crofting law matters.

Angus Mackay also joins Inksters. He is a legal consultant with a specialist interest in Community Empowerment, Land Reform and Renewable Energy.

Angus has worked for large commercial law firms and latterly for a renewable energy company. He will be dealing with general crofting and property transactions and giving specialist assistance in community acquisitions and renewable energy schemes.

Angus comes from the crofting township of Melness in Sutherland.

Evonne Morrison is joining Inksters as a Trainee Solicitor. Coming from Shetland she has an interest in crofting law and will be assisting the team in day to day crofting transactions/cases.

These three new team members join Brian Inkster and Martin Minton to provide Inksters’ clients with a formidable crofting law team of five.

Crofting Law A-Team

Derek Flyn, Angus Mackay, Evonne Morrison, Martin Minton and Brian Inkster

Brian Inkster has dealt with crofting law matters for over 25 years and appears in the Scottish Land Court regularly and is often called upon to provide opinions on complex crofting law matters.

Brian is the Hon Secretary of the Crofting Law Group, a member of the Crofting Group of Scottish Land & Estates, the Cross-Party Group on Crofting at the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government Crofting Stakeholder Forum, the Crofting Register Stakeholder Forum and the Crofting Legislation Stakeholder Consultation Group.

Brian is a regular contributor at crofting law conferences and blogs about crofting law on this blog.

Martin Minton is a solicitor who has been with Inksters for five years concentrating on crofting law. Martin deals with crofting property transactions and disputes. He also deals with wills and executries involving crofting issues.

Martin comes from a crofting family in Dundonnell near Ullapool.

Martin has contributed articles and legal updates on crofting law for various publications and for this blog. He is the editor of the Crofting Law Group Newsletter.

Inksters’ crofting law team provide members of the Scottish Crofting Federation with a crofting law helpline.

Brian Inkster said:-

“With the current turmoil at the Crofting Commission over their handling of issues surrounding Common Grazings Committees it is essential for crofters to receive the best possible advice that they can get. I am delighted that Inksters have assembled a crofting law A-Team that will give our clients just that.”

If you need to call in the ‘Crofting Law A-Team’ then phone Rose Sullivan on 0345 450 0123 and she will direct you to a member of the team. Alternatively e-mail the crofting law A-Team or use the Contact Form on this blog to do so.

Vote of no confidence in Crofting Commission and calls for their Convener to stand aside pending the outcome of a full external enquiry

Vote of no confidence in Crofting Commissio at Crofting Federation meeting

All hands went up in Ullapool with a vote of no confidence in the Crofting Commission

The Scottish Crofting Federation have highlighted that the outrage of crofters at the treatment grazings committees are receiving from the Crofting Commission is escalating as another constable is appointed and shareholders are summoned to a Commission meeting.

Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, Fiona Mandeville, said:-

The behaviour of the Crofting Commission is causing widespread resentment and bewilderment in the crofting communities. We are all completely dismayed that the body that is supposed to be promoting the interests of crofting is instead behaving so negatively and harmfully. It seems to have lost all sense of reason.

Following summary dismissals of grazings committees by the Crofting Commission, and accusations of the Commission’s inconsistent and oppressive behaviour, the Scottish Crofting Federation held a meeting in Ullapool last Friday. Fifteen people attended, including deposed grazings officials, crofters and others. A vote of no confidence in the Commission was passed unanimously.

Ms Mandeville went on to say:-

The meeting was unequivocal in its opinion of the Crofting Commission’s conduct. As well as a vote of no confidence in the Commission, the meeting thought that it would be appropriate for the convener of the Commission to stand aside whilst an investigation is carried out into the summary dismissals of grazings committees and the internal procedures of the Commission that has led to this debacle. The Scottish Crofting Federation fully supports this.

How does the Crofting Commission intend to manage the day to day running of the grazings that they have left with no committee? Claims for CAP support are due imminently, both by committees on behalf of grazings and by individuals who need agreement of their grazings committee to use extra soumings. Large amounts of money, and we are talking thousands of pounds, will be lost. Will the Crofting Commission be ready to compensate for losses? Or do they expect the constables they are imposing on the grazings to do this? Whilst being questionable in legality, imposing constables is belligerent, particularly as shareholders are expected to pay them.

The issue seems to be around how committees manage their operational reserves. The Crofting Act is open to interpretation on exactly how this is supposed to be done but grazings committees have always taken a pragmatic approach. The Commission have apparently recently taken an interpretation that is simply unworkable. We are hearing from many committees that if they are forced to pay out all their operational reserves they will simply have to wind up management of the grazings. That will be the end of this unique system, which we hope is not the intention. The Commission is being utterly irresponsible.

Prior to summary dismissal, grazings committee members were called by the Commission to meetings with no warning of what the meeting was to be about. The commission are carrying on in the same authoritarian vein with another summons to their meetings again, with no consultation as to suitability of date, time or venue.

We understand that there may be other sacked grazings committees. The Commission has to be reined in and held to account. We understand that there may be other sacked grazings committees. The Commission has to be reined in and held to account. We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the new Minister for crofting as soon as she or he is in place and will call for a full external inquiry.

It was reported in The Scotsman that a spokeswoman for the Crofting Commission said:-

The actions of the Scottish Crofting Federation are not a matter for the commission.

An extraordinary statement for the regulator of crofting in Scotland to say about the organisation that represents the interests of crofters. The regulator should be taking heed of what they say. Instead they appear to simply be closing the door on them. A door that the Scottish Government must break down with a view to sorting this sorry mess out once and for all.

Crabbit Crofter on Twitter summed the current situation up with this image:-

The end of crofting - the common clearances

Brian Inkster

Crofting Federation hold meeting on Common Grazings Calamity

Crofting Federation hold Common Grazings meeting in Ullapool to decide what next regarding the Crofting Commission


The Scottish Crofting Federation are holding a meeting for representatives of common grazings affected by Crofting Commission decisions in Ullapool this coming Friday morning to exchange information and plan what can be done next.

It was reported in Hebrides Today that the Scottish Crofting Federation has expressed bafflement at the recent behaviour of the Crofting Commission in which it “seems set to antagonise crofters and put grazings at risk”.

We have, of course, reported on this bizarre behaviour:-

Abuse of power within the Crofting Commission?

The Common Clearances

Crofting Commission’s appointment of Grazings Constable is illegal

And there are even more baffling details behind some of this which will be revealed on this blog in future posts.

Hebrides Today summarised the position to date:-

The Crofting Commission recently removed two grazings committees from their offices on grounds that they did not fulfil their statutory obligations. This is vigorously denied by those removed, with claims that the commission made it impossible to comply by contradiction, vagueness and antagonism. The commission’s decision to impose a constable on one of the grazings is being questioned by a leading lawyer as to its legitimacy.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, Patrick Krause, said:-

The commission is apparently behaving extremely high-handedly and their diplomacy skills are very low. Grazings shareholders need a word of comfort urgently to restore confidence in the regulator.

A public statement giving the assurance that grazings committees will not continue to be sacked, that grazings constables, legal or otherwise, will not be imposed on them and that the issue of enforcement of fatally impractical demands will be addressed, is overdue and essential to halt this calamity.

Crofters are completely perplexed at this extraordinary behaviour

Those wishing to attend the meeting being organised by the Scottish Crofting Federation in Ullapool on the morning of Friday 6th May should contact their head office:-

E-mail: HQ@crofting.org

Tel: 01599 530 005

Photo credit: Paul Hart from Glasgow, Scotland – Ullapool, CC BY-SA 2.0