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Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003

Section 108: Amendment of Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) (Amendment) Act 1933

427.Section 9(3) of the Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) (Amendments) Act 1933 created a right of pre‑emption in respect of Parliamentary Churches and manses. The section allowed the original granter of the site a right of pre-emption entitling them to first refusal if the church came up for sale. The granter only received such a right if they owned land adjoining the church or manse. If they subsequently sold on some of this adjoining land, then it is arguable that each sold off part would also receive a right of pre‑emption. This creates difficulties as to who is entitled to the right of pre-emption, and raises the possibility that more than one nearby owner could try and exercise it. Section 108inserts three new subsections into the 1933 Act to resolve this problem.

428.Subsection (4) inserted by section 108 prevents further proliferation of the pre-emption right. It ensures that when part of a property which holds a right of pre-emption under section 9 of the 1933 Act is divided, only the property which is not sold off will have the right to enforce the pre-emption. The sold off land will not receive the pre-emption unless there is an agreement for it to receive it instead of the retained land. In any situation, the pre-emption will only be exercisable by one part of a property that is being subdivided – no two properties will be given the right at the same time. This only applies to future sales and subdivisions following the appointed day. Past subdivisions are dealt with by the new subsection (5).

429.Subsections (5) and (6) inserted by section 108 deal with the issue of who is entitled to the pre-emption right in all existing cases where there are multiple pre-emption holders. Scottish Ministers will be able to set out by statutory instrument the details of a procedure to determine to whom the right should be granted and how the price of the land is to be determined.

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