I note from your article, “ASA raps company over ‘fake Scots laird’ titles”, (11 March) that the Advertising Standards Authority has taken action against a company claiming to sell minuscule pieces of land, entitling the purchaser to adopt the title Laird, Lord or Lady of Glencoe.
Such action is to be welcomed. However, I am afraid that, in reporting the exposure of one part of this company’s misrepresentation, you have given credence to another. Your article stated that the sale of these plots has “created 7,500 new Scots landowners”. It has done nothing of the sort. A person who buys land in Scotland can only become the owner by registration in the Land Register of Scotland.
The Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 does not allow registration of “souvenir plots”, meaning “land which, being of inconsiderable size, or no practical utility, is unlikely to be wanted in isolation except for the sake of mere ownership or for sentimental reasons or commemorative purposes”.
As the square-foot plots sold by this company clearly fall within this definition, they cannot be registered and, as a result, their purchasers can never become owners of the land they believe that they have bought.
In other words, so far is this company’s scheme from creating 7,500 new landowners, that it has in fact created none whatsoever.
Lecturer in law
Robert Gordon University