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Scots property law

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Title: Scots property law  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: English property law, Scots law, Charter of novodamus, Scots property law, UK law
Collection: Property Law of the United Kingdom, Scots Property Law, Town and Country Planning in Scotland, Wealth in Scotland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Scots property law

Scots property law governs the rules of property in Scotland. A fundamental distinction in Scots law is between heritable and moveable property. Heritable property includes land and buildings, whereas moveable property includes title to property which actually physically moves, which would normally passes only on delivery. Moveable rights also include those to intellectual property, such as patents, trade marks and copyrights. Agreement on an offer for property purchase is a legally binding contract, resulting in a system of conveyancing where buyers get their survey done before making a bid to the seller's solicitor, and after a closing date for bids the seller's acceptance is binding on both parties, preventing gazumping. In recent times sales of house by way of offering to sell to the first party to make an unconditional offer of a fixed price has eroded the traditional offers over system. It is important historically because the feu was first created in Scotland, which is an antecedent of the fee system, used in conveyancing throughout the common law system.


  • Feudal law 1
  • Udal law 2
  • Intellectual property law 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5

Feudal law

The feudal system lingered on in Scots law on land ownership, so that a landowner as a vassal still had obligations to a feudal superior including payment of feu duty. This enabled developers to impose perpetual conditions dictating how buildings had to be constructed and maintained, but added complications and became abused to demand payments from vassals who wanted to make minor changes. In 1974 legislation began a process of redeeming feu duties so that most of these payments were ended. A major package of land reform (the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004) commenced on November 28, 2004.[1]

Udal law

The Northern Isles used a system called Udal Law, owing to their former status as territory of Norway. However, following legal reforms in November 2004, the significance of udal law in those islands is greatly reduced.

Intellectual property law

Intellectual property (IP) in Scotland is governed mostly by statute, however it was a Scottish case Wills v Zetnews (1997 FSR 604) that first applied the existing copyright law to the internet by categorising the net as a cable programme. This definition has now been superseded by European directives but the principle still stands.

See also


  1. ^ "Age-old Scots property rights end".  
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