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Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016

Section 10 – Membership

19.Section 44(4) of the Act provides that the members of the Commission are to be five Land Commissioners and one Tenant Farming Commissioner. Section 10 sets out the procedure for the appointment of the members of the Commission.

20.Under subsection (2), the Scottish Parliament has to approve the appointment of the members. Section 11(4) sets out that when an appointment is referred to the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Ministers must lay a statement before the Scottish Parliament as to how they have complied with the appointment duties set out in section 11. The Scottish Ministers will determine the appointment period for each member and the appointment can last up to five years (subsection (3)). Sections 11 to 13 contain particular conditions regarding the appointment of members, but otherwise the Commission, with the approval of the Scottish Ministers, is free to determine the terms and conditions of appointment under subsection (4). Subsection (5) allows the Scottish Ministers to re-appoint an existing or previous member and subsection (7) places a duty on the Scottish Ministers to select one of the Land Commissioners to chair the Commission.

Section 11 – Eligibility for appointment

21.Land matters are complex and multi-faceted. Therefore, to ensure that there is a range of expertise in the Commission, subsection (1) places a duty on the Scottish Ministers to have regard to the overall expertise of the members of the Commission in—

  • Land reform

  • Law

  • Finance

  • Economic issues

  • Planning and development

  • Land management

  • Community empowerment

  • Environmental issues

  • Human rights

  • Equal opportunities

  • The reduction of inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.

22.Subsection (1)(b) requires the Scottish Ministers to encourage equal opportunities and the observance of the equal opportunity requirements.

23.Subsection (2) requires Ministers, when appointing the Land Commissioners, to take every reasonable step to ensure that at least one of them speaks the Gaelic language.

24.Subsection (3) requires Ministers to ensure that the Tenant Farming Commissioner has the necessary expertise or experience in relation to agriculture.

Section 12 – Disqualification from membership

25.Subsection (1) prevents persons from being appointed as a member of the Commission if they have been in office within a relevant category listed in (a) to (e) within the previous 12 months. For instance, a person who was either a Member of Parliament or a Member of the Scottish Parliament in the last 12 months would be ineligible for appointment as a member of the Commission.

26.Subsection (2) excludes a person who is either a landlord or tenant in a “relevant tenancy” as defined in subsection (3) from being appointed as the Tenant Farming Commissioner. A “relevant tenancy” is a 1991 Act tenancy, a short limited duration tenancy, a limited duration tenancy, a modern limited duration tenancy or a repairing tenancy (in respect of the last two see, respectively, Part 10, Chapters 1 and 2 of the Act).

27.Subsection (4) provides that any member of the Commission who becomes one of the persons listed in subsection (1)(a) to (f) will cease to be a member of the Commission.

28.Similarly, subsection (5) provides that the appointment of the Tenant Farming Commissioner ceases if subsection (2) applies and the Commissioner becomes a landlord or tenant in a “relevant tenancy” under subsection (3).

Section 13 – Resignation and removal

29.Subsection (1) allows a member of the Commission to resign by serving notice in writing to the Scottish Ministers.

30.Subsection (2) sets out the circumstances in which the Scottish Ministers can revoke the appointment of a member of the Commission: for instance, insolvency of a member will allow the Scottish Ministers to use their discretion to end an appointment.

31.Subsection (3) defines insolvency for the purposes of subsection (2)(a).

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Explanatory Notes

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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