You are here: Group Home | Atm Property Sales | Buying a Farm in Scotland | Scottish Legal System

Scottish Legal System

It is important to be aware that Scotland has its own legal system and law governing land and property. There are fundamental differences between the Scottish system and that operating South of the Border and over the water in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland land tends to be marketed through a system of ‘blind bidding’. The purchase price being set at an "offers over" or "upset" price, this is the price that the seller would not expect to sell below. How much you will actually have to pay will depend very much on how active the market is and how much competition there is from other potential buyers.

After an appropriate date and dependant on the level of interest a closing date for offers may be set. At any stage up until the closing date a pre-emptive offer may be accepted by the seller.

At a closing date written offers are invited - these offers must be in Scottish Legal Form and be prepared by a Scottish Solicitor.

The offer takes the form of a document setting out the terms of purchase and generally considers the following:

  • What is being bought - i.e. Land/House/Quotas/Single Farm Payment

  • Purchase Price

  • Entry Date

  • Ingoings - i.e. Silage, Standing Crops, Crops in Store etc

  • Access, Water Supply, SEPA, Planning, Mineral Rights

"Best and Final" offers are submitted at the closing date, these are then considered by the seller and an acceptance issued to the most favourable offer.

Once the offer has been accepted the selling solicitor issues a qualified acceptance - this is the initial stage of concluding the missives. The offer and acceptance usually need to be qualified several times before the bargain is concluded - this can take several weeks. During this time the seller cannot deal with other parties even though the farm is technically not sold. Once both parties' solicitors have agreed to conclude the missives the deal then becomes legally binding at which point 10% of the purchase price is required. Both parties have at this stage entered into a legally binding arrangement and neither party can withdraw without potentially being held liable for the consequent losses of the other party.

On settlement you will get possession of the property which usually happens on the agreed date of entry.

As part of the service offered by ATM Property Sales we can make sure our clients benefit from the best legal advice from leading rural specialists. 

signing paperwork for scottish legal system header