Mike Blair

Mike has been involved in Land and Rural Business work of a wide variety since the late 80s, including farms, estates, forestry, sporting rights, and renewables, as well as advising on the associated business structures, tax and family tax planning arrangements. He has contributed to several text books, particularly on the law of Leases, and has written numerous professional articles.

Mike has chaired and spoken at the Law Society Agricultural and Rural Law Conference for several years and spoken at a number of Conferences on environmental matters.

He also provides Opinions for other agents on technical Agricultural Holdings issues, and advice to public bodies including the Land Commission.

Mike acts for a wide array of clients across the rural sector, who appreciate that he brings a particularly broad spectrum of knowledge and experience to his work, and he is one of the country’s best recognised practitioners in the Land and Rural sector

Contributed to

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Agricultural holdings dispute resolution in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note summarises the procedures for resolution of disputes about matters relating to Agricultural Leases in Scotland and provides links to the Scottish Land Court procedures.

Agricultural holdings in Scotland—certain tenants’ right to buy
Practice notes

This Practice Note gives an overview of the law and practice affecting the agricultural tenants right to buy arising under the Part 2 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 and the changes that will be brought about when the relevant provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 come into effect. The distinction between the agricultural right to buy and the crofting community right to buy and the rights to buy to which individual croft tenants are entitled, are discussed.

Agricultural holdings in Scotland—snapshot
Practice notes

This Practice Note gives an overview of the different kinds of agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991(1991 Act Tenancies) and Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 (2003 Act Tenancies) including Short Limited Duration Tenancies (SLDTs), Limited Duration Tenancies (LDTs), Modern Limited Duration Tenancies (MLDTs), repairing tenancies and grazing tenancies distinguishing their general characteristics; duration, uses, rent, succession and sub-letting, and also some of the basic facts about them, including the role of writing, fixed equipment and fixtures, rent review, resumption, diversification, right to buy, irritancy, compensation at waygo and dispute resolution.

Agricultural holdings in Scotland—subsidy rights
Practice notes

This Practice Note gives an overview on the EU and other agricultural subsidy systems currently operating in rural Scotland including the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), with the ‘greening’ element, young farmer payments, Sheep Upland Support Scheme (SUSS), Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS), Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) and Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS).

Agricultural tenants’ improvements amnesty 2017–2020—Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the improvements amnesty for certain types of improvements carried out in the past by tenants on let farms in Scotland, but not properly documented at the time. The amnesty allows tenants to apply to have such improvements legally recognised for potential compensation from the landlord at termination of the tenancy. It originally expired on 12 June 2020, after being open for three years from 13 June 2017 but is extended to 12 December 2020.

Agricultural tenants’ improvements and fixtures in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the important difference between agricultural tenants’ improvements and tenants’ fixtures in agricultural tenancies in Scotland. It outlines the landlord and tenant responsibilities and entitlements.

Agricultural tenants’ rights to diversify in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note considers agricultural tenants’ rights to diversify or use the let subjects for alternative business uses both under 1991 Act Tenancies and 2003 Act Tenancies, the extent of the right to diversify and some of the consequences of diversification.

Buildings and other fixed equipment in agricultural tenancies in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note describes what fixed equipment is in an agricultural holdings context, the obligations to provide it, record it, maintain it and replace it once beyond repair in tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (1991 Act Tenancies) and Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 (2003 Act Tenancies) in relation to short limited duration tenancies (SLDTs) and limited duration tenancies (LDTs).

Irritancy of agricultural tenancies in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the legal (statutory) and conventional irritancies in relation to 1991 Act and 2003 Act agricultural tenancies in Scotland.

Rent review under 1991 Act agricultural tenancies in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note gives guidance on the rent review provisions applying to agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (1991 Act tenancies) in Scotland, and the procedures to be adopted in initiating and negotiating a rent review. It does not deal with procedure in the Land Court if the parties fail to agree the new rent.

Rent review under 2003 Act agricultural tenancies in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note considers rent review provisions applying to Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 (2003 Act tenancies) and the procedures to be adopted in initiating and negotiating a rent review. This Practice Note does not deal with procedure in the Land Court if the parties fail to agree the new rent.

Resumption of agricultural holdings in Scotland
Practice notes

This Practice Note summarises the circumstances in which a landlord of a let agricultural property in Scotland can take property back out of a 1991 Act Tenancy or 2003 Act Tenancy by way of resumption, the procedure for resumption for different kinds of agricultural leases and the consequences of resumption including compensation and reduction of rent.

Single year cropping lease—short SLDT—Scotland
Precedents

This Style is a short limited duration tenancy (SLDT) of a small area of land for no more than one year under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003. There are no provisions for assignation, subletting or rent review.

Style grazing lease—Scotland
Precedents

This Style is a grazing lease to which section 3 of the Agricultural Premises (Scotland) Act 2003 applies. The maximum period allowed is 364 days. The permitted use is for grazing or mowing and removing grass or similar feed crops. Optional provisions deal with grass cropping and animal welfare obligations and optional provisions where the premises are in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. The lease is personal to the tenant.

Practice areas

Membership

  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Law Society Environmental Law sub-Committee
  • Agricultural Law Association
  • Central Scotland Agricultural Valuers Association

Panel

  • Scottish Panel

Education

  • LLB (Hons) University of Edinburgh (First Class)

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