Agricultural holdings dispute resolution in Scotland
Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie MacAndrew
Agricultural holdings dispute resolution in Scotland

The following Property guidance note Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie MacAndrew provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agricultural holdings dispute resolution in Scotland
  • Primary Jurisdiction of the Scottish Land Court
  • Major exceptions to Land Court jurisdiction
  • Exclusive Land Court jurisdiction—disputes excluded from voluntary arbitration
  • Alternative dispute resolution processes
  • Appeal of Land Court orders and arbiter awards

Historically almost all disputes relating to agricultural tenancy matters were referred to arbitration in the first instance. The thinking was that many issues relating to agricultural holdings have a large practical element, and arbitration was likely to be a better way of resolving matters than reference to a court. As time went on however, many issues involving legal complexity were dealt with before arbitrators. When Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 (AH(S)A 2003) was passed, there was a change in policy, and the primary means of dealing with disputes relating to agricultural tenant matters is now by reference to the Scottish Land Court. At the same time, arbitration procedure was simplified, and other resolution methods eg mediation, were made possible.

Although the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (AH(S)A 1991) still contains separate provisions for dispute resolution, these have been greatly modified by AH(S)A 2003, with the result that the dispute resolution provisions relating to 1991 Act Tenancies are largely similar to those for 2003 Act Tenancies.

For further information see: Chapter 15 Agricultural Leases: Scottish Law of Leases, para [15.1].

Primary Jurisdiction of the Scottish Land Court

Since the coming into force of AH(S)A 2003 on 27 November 2003, almost all disputes relating to 1991 Act and 2003 Act Tenancies have to be referred to the Land Court unless the parties otherwise agree