Following on from my blog about Royal Assent being given to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, the first of the Commencement Orders has now been laid before the Scottish Parliament.
The snappily titled The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Commencement No. 1 and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2016 was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 8 June and provides for various parts of the Act to be brought into force, at varying times, as follows:
28 June 2016
Part 6 of the Act (sections 74-76) – the re-introduction of sporting rates for shootings and deer forests
Part 7 of the Act (section 77) – dealing with local authority common good land, extending the right to seek authorisation to use such land in a different manner, as well as the right to dispose of it
Part 8 of the Act (sections 78-82) – deer management provisions
1 October 2016
sections 1 and 2 of the Act – the “land rights and responsibilities statement”. This means the statement must be published and laid before the Scottish Parliament before 1 October 2017 (i.e. within 12 months of these sections coming into force)
1 October 2017
section 3 of the Act – the duty on the Scottish Ministers to promote the principles of the land rights and responsibilities statement when exercising their functions (presumably this timeframe is given because Scottish Ministers won’t publish the statement until the last minute, rather than any desire to exercise their functions in flagrant disregard for its terms if it is published earlier!)
These are some of the Act’s easier parts to bring into force, so it’s not unexpected that they are first. Only the rates re-introduction required any additional provision to the wording of the Act itself (making clear that the relevant interests will only enter the valuation roll from April 2017, which was as anticipated). The land rights and responsibilities statement also, of course, provides guiding principles so, again, it makes sense it comes at the start.