Restrictions on Disposal

Part of Clause 2 – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 18th March 1997.

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Photo of Mr Raymond Robertson Mr Raymond Robertson , Aberdeen South 3:43 pm, 18th March 1997

We believe that the amendment may risk jeopardising the ability of some crofters to establish crofting trusts. I know that that is not what the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) would wish.

Any requirement that a crofting trust represent a community may be interpreted to require that a community be shown to exist on the relevant property. Decisions of the Scottish land court have found that scattered crofts can be deemed not to form a community. It is therefore possible that crofters in the eastern highlands, where there are no common grazings and crofts are often some distance apart, may be frustrated in attempts to establish trusts if they cannot demonstrate that a community exists on their scattered holdings. The amendment could therefore remove from some crofters the ability to establish a trust, which is contrary to the Bill's principle.

Where a community can be shown to exist, our advice is that the terms "the community" and "persons" have no legal difference, and that in this context, the amendment is unnecessary. I invite the hon. Member for Dumbarton to withdraw the amendment.