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Community Rights and Access to Land in Scotland

David Sellar, School of Law, Edinburgh University
Proceedings from a workshop on Old and New Commons,
Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo, Norway,
11th to 13th March 2003

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This paper gives a flavour of the great land debate which has been raging in Scotland for some years, and of which the most tangible outcome so far has been the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in January 2003, contains provisions permitting general public access to land, and allowing for the community purchase of land.

Before moving on to the land debate, the paper considered a number of preliminary points: the history of commons or "commonties" in Scotland; whether anything approximating to an allemansrett might be said to exist in Scotland; the Trust concept; and two myths regarding ownership and access.