Don’t worry. Despite this blog post’s title, this is not going to be a romantic or nostalgic reflection on my year. This is a post about a different kind of tender.
Scottish land law and related matters of land policy have been a matter of some interest to me for a while. Two opportunities to pursue this interest officially presented themselves in 2017, in the shape of contract work for two public bodies. I am part of two separate teams that successfully tendered for these work streams.
The first of those relates to Scottish smallholdings. I have had some involvement with this niche practice area, in my capacity as co-author of the Leases chapter of the Scots law textbook Gloag and Henderson and as per this note for the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. (Smallholdings are not to be confused with crofts or agricultural holdings, which are subject to separate regulatory regimes, although the regulation of crofts and smallholdings did align in the early to mid-20th century.)
In partnership with Dr Annie Tindley of Newcastle University (see her press release here), I will be playing a support role in relation to a Scottish Government tender considering some historical aspects of smallholdings in Scotland. This work, it is hoped, could inform the future regulation and perhaps even the vitality of smallholdings in Scotland. Stay tuned for further information in relation to this. In the meantime, if you have any interesting smallholding yarns I would be happy to hear from you.
Another piece of work relates to this contract for “Research on Interventions to Limit Land Ownership” with the Scottish Land Commission. For this I have teamed up with an Aberdeen colleague, Professor Norman Hutchison (who brings economic expertise), to in turn partner with a team from the UHI, headed up by Dr Jayne Glass from the Centre for Mountain Studies.
We will be looking at interventions in the land markets of comparator legal systems, to gauge whether such measures might feasibly and effectively be replicated in Scotland. What can I bring to this exercise, I hear you cry? One example is gauging what constitutional protection of property a jurisdiction has and then analysing whether that is stronger or weaker than the position of Scotland. Another example is comparing land registration regimes.
The Scottish Land Commission contract will be the first of “my” contracts to draw to a close, with reports due in January (in draft) and February. Not that the first contract is not important, I think it is fair to say this second contract could be of wider application to the whole of Scotland. I have found the research input to this to be geekily enjoyable; I just hope others also enjoy the output, failing which they at least find it useful. Stay tuned for further information about this workstream as well.
There. Those are my tender reflections on 2017.
(Depending on reader demand I might also move into lifestyle blogging.)
(Actually, on reflection, no.)
This is the second of my reflective blog posts on 2017. The first was on my involvement with the Juridical Review and is available here.