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ScotlandWhen the Americans referred recently to certain of the UK’s neighbours as ‘old Europe’, the gibe was intended to wound. In reality, Britain too, of course, is part of old Europe, a fact brought home to us most forcibly when we consider that much of the reconvened Scottish Parliament’s recent activity has been aimed at abolishing land laws which originated in the Scotland in the 11th and 12th centuries.

The legislative work to reform the ancient laws has been complex and time-consuming, but a conclusion is now in sight. For centuries the majority of land in Scotland was held by feudal tenure, where the land was held from a ‘superior’, who retained an interest in the land, in return for certain periodical services or payments from the owner/occupier, often referred to as a ‘feuar’.

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