Section 22: Resumption and reversion
95.Section 22 makes a number of changes to the handling of resumption of land from crofting tenure including the extension of the definition of “reasonable purpose” to include the generation of energy. It also provides that the Commission must be given notice of all resumption proposals and may oppose or support the proposal in the Land Court. It empowers the Land Court to allow resumption for a specified period, being known as a temporary resumption, rather than the permanent arrangement required by the previous legislation. It also empowers the Land Court to determine that payments to crofters of a share in the value of resumed land may be made by instalments rather than in a lump sum. This removes a potential obstacle to the development of land where income is deferred or spread over a lengthy period. Finally, it empowers the Land Court to restore resumed land to crofting tenure in certain circumstances.
96.Section 22(1)(a) amends section 20(1) of the 1993 Act to extend the matters which the Land Court must take into account when considering a resumption application to include the interests of the crofting community. Section 22(1)(b) inserts new subsections (1A) to (1F) into section 20 of the 1993 Act. The effect of new section 20(1A) is that the landlord must give notice of the application to the Commission and the Commission may oppose or support the application. This means that applications which are unopposed by crofters can nevertheless be challenged where there is concern about the impact of or need for resumption. New section 20(1B) allows the Land Court to specify that land is to be resumed for a specified period rather than permanently. New section 20(1C) allows the Land Court to extend that period on request and new section 20(1D) specifies circumstances where the Land Court is bound to extend the period of resumption in line with an extension of a relevant planning consent. New section 20(1F) allows the landlord to apply to the Land Court to turn a resumption for a specified period into a permanent resumption and provides for any necessary further compensation payment or further payment of a share in the value of the land to be made to the crofter. Section 22(1)(c) amends section 20(3)(a) of the 1993 Act to include generation of energy as a reasonable purpose.
97.Section 22(2) amends section 21 of the 1993 Act by adding new subsections (1A) to (1C) to provide that the Land Court may direct that sums payable to a crofter in connection with a resumption can be paid by instalments. It also provides for any such direction to be recorded in the Register of Crofts and so made binding on the successors to the landlord.
98.Section 22(3) inserts a new section 21A into the 1993 Act. This new section allows any “relevant person”, being a landlord of a croft, the person who was the tenant of the land when it was resumed or if the land had been part of a common grazing the owner or the grazings committee, and the Commission to apply to the Land Court to have the land restored to crofting tenure. The Court is empowered to agree to the land being returned to crofting tenure provided the conditions specified in new section 21A(2) are met. If the Court determines that the land should be restored to crofting tenure new section 21A(4) empowers the Court to specify that crofters should return all or part of the compensation or share of value paid on resumption. Where the land is to be restored as a common grazing new section 21A(5) empowers the Court to specify how the question of shares in the grazing is to be resolved.