This is a blog (sign)post, directing to a note that has just been published in the Edinburgh Law Review on the abandonment of land in Scots law.
This is a topic I was studying last year (see this blog post trailing a research seminar) and the note is hopefully the first piece of a bigger jigsaw. The note was co-authored by Malcolm Rudd, a former student and research assistant. That research assistance was supported by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, which I gratefully acknowledge in the note and again here.
The topic of land abandonment is something that Richard Cramer, a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town, has also been exploring (as explained in this blog post). Abandoned land is something that is topical in Scotland at the moment, but for very different reasons to why it is topical in South Africa. In Scotland, there will soon be a right to buy neglected, abandoned or environmentally detrimental land, and draft regulations have been put forward explaining what counts as wholly or mainly abandoned or neglected. My note is not about this sense of abandonment, it is more about an owner actively trying to escape the responsibilities and possibly even financial burdens that come from ownership. That is what happened in the Scottish Coal case, which I explore in the note. I also consider why such instances of purposeful abandonment may not have been litigated in the past, with reference to the old Scottish feudal system, the rules around positive (acquisitive) prescription, and the increased tendency towards public regulation of land in the modern era.