HC Deb 24 April 1899 vol 70 cc379-80

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Secretary for Scotland is aware that since Colonel Sitwell purchased the estate of Strathkyle, Culrain, Ross-shire, in July 1894, the tenants on the estate have been constantly subjected to ejectment proceedings, four only out of 15 crofters on the estate being left undisturbed. Is he aware that William Macleod, one of these tenants, who received notice to quit in 1896, appealed to the Crofters' Commission, who heard the case at Ardgay on the 4th May 1897, sustained the competency of the application, and fixed a rent for the holding; that, notwithstanding this decision, Colonel Sitwell appealed to the Court of Session, and that Lord Kincairney, in giving judgment on the case on the 14th July 1898, quoted the finality clause, of the Crofters' Act, 1886, and held that there was no escape from the conclusion that the decision of the Crofters' Commission was final, and dismissed the action with costs; and that Colonel Sitwell has now appealed to the second Court of Session; and, in view of the fact that repeated actions of this character seriously cripple crofters in the exercise of their calling and cause great expense to them, will the Secretary for Scotland consider the expediency of taking such steps as will admit of appeals from decisions of the Crofters' Commission being defended by the Government?


The Secretary for Scotland has no information which enables him to make any statement in regard to the matters referred to in the first and second paragraphs of the honourable Member's Question, and in reply to the third paragraph he does not intend to take any action of the kind suggested.