Crofting Lawyer, Brian Inkster, believes that the Crofting Commission may not be correct when it announced that, based on legal advice sought and obtained by them, it did not appear competent for them, on the application of an owner-occupier crofter who is occupying their croft, to make a direction that the croft (or part of it) shall cease to be a croft.
Brian Inkster considers that contrary to the advice obtained by the Crofting Commission the effect of crofting legislation is that an owner-occupier crofter is deemed to be occupying a vacant croft for the purposes of the decrofting provisions. Thus an application for decrofting by an owner-occupier crofter is perfectly competent and should be processed as such by the Crofting Commission.
Brian Inkster’s full opinion on this matter can be found at:
Dr Jean Balfour, Chair of Scottish Land & Estates Crofting Group, said: “It is surprising and very regrettable that this apparent quirk in crofting legislation has been raised and its emergence gives rise to an urgent need for the position to be clarified and resolved”.
“The Crofting Commission’s decision to halt the processing of decrofting applications from owner-occupier crofters raises the possibility of grave detriment to crofters who, for economic reasons, have to take employment away from their crofts. The Commission is already requiring that such people let their crofts, thus potentially depriving them of both financial and cultural inheritances. The decision not to permit decrofting immediately threatens the ability of those affected to even decroft their house and garden ground”.