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Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000


Number of superiors and superiority interests

256.It would be a monumental task to search the property registers, the Register of Sasines and the Land Register of Scotland, in order to identify the total number of superiority interests in Scotland. Some superiors, for example local authorities, may have a large number of individual superiority interests and therefore large numbers of vassals. Some superiors may own only one superiority interest though perhaps covering a large area. It is therefore impossible to estimate the number of individual superiors in Scotland (or indeed the number of vassals). It is equally impossible to anticipate the reaction of these superiors to abolition of the feudal system. This means that it is difficult to assess the impact of the provisions on claiming compensation for feuduty (and analogous payments) and development value burdens. Superiors will have to assess the value of claiming compensation before deciding whether to proceed to claim.

257.It is also impossible to predict how many superiors will attempt to preserve burdens under the savings provisions in the Act. Since the circumstances in which they will be allowed to do so is limited, superiors will be unable to attempt to preserve all existing feudal burdens. Indeed, the action required of the superior under the savings provisions should deter frivolous or vexatious attempts. The necessity of action should ensure that superiors will only attempt to preserve burdens where they have a genuine interest in doing so. In the case of superiors who have extensive superiority interests, this may involve fairly substantial administrative costs and possibly search fees, since estate titles will have to be examined to establish whether there are important amenity or other interests which should ideally be protected by preservation of certain burdens. It is a matter of choice for the superior whether he wishes to attempt to preserve burdens - he is not obliged to do so. This will, however, be a one-off exercise which will have to be completed before the appointed day of abolition.

258.Any of the costs set out above will apply to any superior to the extent to which he wishes to preserve his burdens. They will apply equally to superiors who are private individuals, public authorities or businesses.

259.Dates have not yet been set for commencing the provisions of the Act. These will depend on several factors: the timing of Royal Assent and the need to allow individuals and corporate bodies to undertake administrative work on matters such as the saving of burdens.

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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills


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