Land tribunal and land court
Depending on what your case is about, you might be able to take it to a tribunal. This page explains what a tribunal is. It also explains the difference between the Land Tribunal for Scotland and the Scottish Land Court.
What is a tribunal?
Tribunals are like courts because:
they deal with civil law cases
they take place in a formal room which can look like a court
both sides present their arguments in the case
a decision is made by the members of the tribunal (who are a bit like judges in a court).
Tribunals are effectively independent civil courts that deal with cases in a specific area of law. They are set up by parliament (under 'Acts of Parliament' or 'statutes') and are given certain powers under the law.
There are lots of different types of tribunals set up to deal with various problems including:
mental health issues
arguments over pensions or benefits
immigration and asylum.
You can find out more about tribunals in the UK at the Tribunals Service website.
The Land Tribunal of Scotland
If you have a problem in relation to land, you might be able to take your case to the Land Tribunal for Scotland. This Tribunal has been set up to deal with specific issues relating to land including:
altering or getting rid of legal obligations (known as 'burdens') that you have to stick to if you own your home.
your right to buy your council house if you're a council tenant
arguments over land compensation (for example, if a bypass has been built near your home and this affects the value of your property)
The Land Tribunal is different from the Scottish Land Court (see below).
There are four members of the tribunal (two lawyers and two surveyors) who can make decisions in appropriate cases.
If you're thinking about taking your case to the Land Tribunal you should get legal advice first. Your lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not the Tribunal is an option. If you're not sure, you can contact the Tribunal itself for advice. However, they won't be able to give an opinion on whether or not you'll be successful; they can only tell you about procedure.
If the Tribunal can deal with your case and you've decided to go ahead, you'll have to fill in an application form stating what the case is about and what the problem is. The staff at the Tribunal will then work out under which procedure your case should be dealt with and let you know what has to be done to move things forward. There are certain rules and procedures you'll have to follow but the staff of the Tribunal will keep you up to speed on that.
You will have to pay a fee when you apply to the Tribunal. You can find more information (including contact details) on the Lands Tribunal for Scotland website.
The Scottish Land Court
This court is an official court of law, just like the sheriff courts across Scotland. However, it only deals with cases involving agricultural tenancies and crofting law (in other words, it has a specific 'jurisdiction'). So if your case falls into this category, it might be dealt with in the Land Court instead of your local sheriff court.
However, if you have a more general problem related to housing (such as an argument over who owns your house or an argument with your landlord), your case will probably be dealt with the in your local sheriff court.
We've mentioned the Land Court here just to emphasise that it is totally separate from the Land Tribunal of Scotland (see 'tribunals' above) although they share the same offices and are headed up by the same person. It's easy to get the Land Court and the Land Tribunal confused. Have a look at the Scottish Land Court website or read our page on the Scottish Land Court for more information.
Last updated: 16 October 2020
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.