Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000
The Act brought the feudal system of land tenure to an end on 28 November 2004 (that is, Martinmas, as the Act provided for the 'appointed day' to be one of the Scottish term days Whitsun or Martinmas). At this point, the former Vassal of an estate became the sole owner of the land, and the former Superior's rights were extinguished. For a further two years, the Superior had the option of claiming compensation, which was fixed at a single payment of such a size that when invested at an annual rate of 2.5%, would yield interest equal to the former feu duty. Because of inflation eroding the value of duties fixed many years before, this payment was in most cases extremely small compared to the current value of the land.
In consequence of this change in the legal basis of land-holding, the Act also reformulated the legal basis on which conditions on the use of land can be specified in the title to ownership of that land. Such title conditions (known variously as Real Burdens and Real Conditions in the prior law) were combined into "Real Burdens". Prior to the Act, a Superior could choose to enforce title conditions, or grant a Consent or Waiver (usually for payment) allowing the land owner to disregard the condition even if otherwise neighbouring property owners might wish to enforce the condition. Existing conditions which were enforceable only by the Superior were abolished, and only conditions enforceable by the owners of neighbouring property or by certain legal bodies on public policy grounds were retained. Transitional arrangements allowed Superiors who were also neighbouring property owners to convert the old title conditions to benefit their land and hence themselves as owners of that land rather than themselves as feudal Superior.
Following this change in the legal basis for title conditions, the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 was passed, reconstituting the mechanics of how new Real Burdens and Servitudes can be created. These two Acts, together with a third Act (the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004), commenced on 28 November 2004.2
- Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 www.opsi.gov.uk, accessed 2 August 2009
- "Age-old Scots property rights end". BBC News Online. 28 November 2004.
- Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000
- Official text of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
- Andrew J. M. Steven: "Revolution in Scottish Land Law" in: Electronic Journal of Comparative Law 8.3 (October 2004)
- David Sellar: "Farewell to Feudalism" in: Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain: The Kingdom in Scotland. Edited by Peter Beauclerk Dewar. Wilmington, DE 192001, pp. xix - xxi
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