The first implementation order under the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 was passed on 7 December 2010 and sets out the timetable for commencement of a small number of the provisions of the Act. With effect from 22 December 2010, the regulatory powers of the Crofters Commission have been extended for small holdings, and there is no longer a requirement that the holding must not form part of a larger agricultural unit. Additionally, with effect from 1 February 2011, certain types of appeal to the Scottish Land Court no longer require to be made by way of stated case.
It is anticipated that the provisions of the Act on nominee purchases and clawback will come into force on 1 July 2011. These provisions require that a nominee exercising the right to buy must be a family member and increase the clawback period from five to ten years. All sales prior to the commencement of that requirement will be subject to the existing five year rule. Interestingly, the delay in commencement of these provisions is likely to lead to a surge in the number of crofters exercising their right to buy before the new provisions take effect, and we are already seeing evidence of that approach.