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Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000

Section 58: Crown application

188.This Act will apply to the Crown. The Crown's position as paramount feudal superior will disappear on the appointed date of abolition and the Crown will not be able to grant new feus. Abolition of the feudal system will not affect property held allodially by the Crown which has never entered a feudal chain. Allodial tenure is complete, or absolute, ownership of property where there is no superior/vassal relationship.

189.The prerogative powers of the Crown will be completely unaffected by the Act. A distinction should be drawn here between the Crown's rights and powers as paramount feudal superior and the Crown's rights and powers as Sovereign. The prerogative powers are preserved generally, but three of them are mentioned specifically for the avoidance of any doubt. Firstly, the prerogative of honour is mentioned to make it clear that matters such as peerages are not affected, even although many of these matters may have their roots in the feudal system. Secondly, the Crown's prerogative rights in relation to ownerless or unclaimed property are also specifically excluded. These cover the Crown's rights as the so called last heir (ultimus haeres) to property which is unclaimed by any heir on the death of the deceased and the Crown's right of property, whether moveable or heritable, which ceases to have an owner (bona vacantia).

190.Thirdly, this section makes it clear that the regalia majora are to be treated as part of the prerogative and so will be unaffected by the Act. The regalia majora are royal rights which cannot be alienated by the Crown. Examples are:

  • the Crown's right in the sea and seabed in respect of public rights of navigation and fishing;

  • the Crown's right in the foreshore in respect of public rights of navigation, mooring boats and fishing; and

  • the Crown's right in the water and bed of navigable rivers, again in respect of public rights such as navigation.

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Text created by the Scottish Government 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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