‘A Practical Guide to Crofting Law’ by Brian Inkster


Paperback: 978-1-912687-39-8
Published: June 2019
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This practical guide is an introduction to crofting law for those with an interest in it or who may touch upon it, whether that is lawyers, law students, land agents, crofters, landlords, or anyone else with an interest in it. It covers the main issues briefly and concisely, aiming to highlight the complexity of crofting law and the pitfalls and traps that await the uninitiated. The aim is that readers will, as a result, be better versed in the basics of crofting law.


Brian Inkster is a solicitor specialising in crofting law.

He is the Hon Secretary of the Crofting Law Group, a member of the Crofting Group of Scottish Land & Estates, the Cross-Party Group on Crofting at the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government Crofting Stakeholder Forum, the Crofting Register Stakeholder Forum and the Scottish Government Crofting Bill Group.

Brian blogs about crofting law at the Crofting Law Blog (croftinglawblog.com) and regularly writes articles for The Crofter (the trade magazine of the Scottish Crofting Federation). He also provides comment and articles to local and national newspapers and magazines such as The West Highland Free Press, The Shetland Times, The Oban Times, The Northern Times, The Scotsman, The Herald, The Press & Journal, The Scottish Farmer, Scottish Legal News and The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.

Brian also gives talks on crofting law to universities and at conferences, workshops and seminars. He has provided detailed submissions to the Scottish Government on proposed crofting law reform.

Brian has been interviewed about crofting law on BBC Alba, BBC Reporting Scotland and Sunday Politics Scotland. He has also been interviewed about crofting law on local and national Scottish radio news programmes.

Brian was born and brought up in Shetland. He is the son of a fisherman rather than a crofter. He studied law at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Glasgow in 1991 to undertake his legal traineeship. Following conclusion of his traineeship Brian continued to practice law in Glasgow where he founded his own law firm, Inksters, in 1999. Inksters now also have offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Forfar, Inverness, Lerwick, Portree, Thurso and Wick.

Inksters provide a free legal advice helpline on crofting law to members of the Scottish Crofting Federation. Brian provides tutoring on Acquiring and Evaluating a Croft / Crofting Law Basics to the Access to Crofting Toolkit Course run by the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Brian also has a speciality in the law of servitudes (easements) having acted for the pursuers in Moncrieff v Jamieson. This case was ultimately decided in the House of Lords and has been described by Professor Roddy Paisley as “one of the most important cases on servitudes in the last 100 years”. It established for the first time in law that, in certain circumstances, you can have a servitude right to park a car ancillary to a right of access.

Brian obtained the distinction of being named Solicitor of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2006. He was called “a one man Scottish legal institution” in the Recommended Law Firm Guide 2010. At the Law Awards of Scotland in 2014 he was recognised as Managing Partner of the Year.

Brian has an active interest in entrepreneurship, marketing, technology and corporate social responsibility in relation to running a law firm. He is often asked to speak on these topics at conferences, summits and retreats.

Mitch Kowalski in his book, ‘The Great Legal Reformation: Notes from the Field‘, wrote:-

“Brian Inkster reminds me of what Elvis Costello would look like if he had become a lawyer: Inkster has an understated, new-wave coolness about him that fits nicely with his role as a legal entrepreneur—and he does kind of look like Elvis Costello in his prime. Kind of.”


Crofting Law History and Legislation
Crofts and Crofters
Crofting Commission
Scottish Land Court
Register of Crofts and Crofting Register
Statutory Conditions, Landlord’s Reserved Rights, Residency and Cultivation Obligations
Croft Purchase
Common Grazings Committees, Grazing Shares, Apportionments and Deemed Crofts
Decrofting and Resumption
Schemes for Development
Croft House Grant and Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme
Croft Division, Enlargement and Exchange
Sublets and Short Leases (Short Term Lets)
Renunciation, Termination of Tenancies and Compensation for Improvements
Formation of New Crofts
Crofting Community Right to Buy


“An invaluable practical guide to demystify crofting law and to help crofters, potential crofters and crofting communities understand their rights and obligations as crofters and members of those communities – highly recommended.”
– Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Bt QC, Chairman, Crofting Law Group and Author of ‘Crofting Law’ (2000)

“The law relating to crofting in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is notoriously complex. Brian is one person who knows his way around it. His guidance will be found beneficial to those new to the subject and those with specific matters in mind. Whilst changes are afoot, his take on the current state of play will be invaluable to lawyers and lay persons alike.”
– Derek Flyn, Co-Author of ‘Crofting Law’ (1990), ‘Crofting Law Sump Report’ (2014) and ‘Crofting Law’ (2017); former Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation; and Crofting Law Consultant, Inksters Solicitors

“This is an extremely helpful guide to crofting law which will help all who have to navigate the Byzantine routes through the law of the land.”
– Tavish Scott, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Shetland and Co-Convener, Scottish Parliament Cross Party-Group on Crofting

“Lawyers will hate this book – it takes a complex subject and makes it understandable to the layman. The level of detail is sufficient for understanding without getting bogged down in jargon.”
– Russell Smith, Crofter and former Chair, Scottish Crofting Federation


Shetland News
Stornoway Gazette
Skye Times Online
Scottish Legal News
We Love Stornoway
Crofting Law Blog


“This book is a useful introduction to a notoriously difficult and specialised area of law. It is written in a clear and understandable style … distilling down the many intricacies of the law to its ‘real world’ essentials. For those wanting to understand how crofting works, this book provides them with what they need to know.”
– Review by Robert Sutherland in Scottish Legal News