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New group to look at land and human rights

A new expert advisory forum on land and human rights meets today, 28 September 2021, for the first time to discuss the relationship between property rights and wider economic, social, and cultural rights.

The forum has been set up through a partnership between Scotland’s land reform body, the Scottish Land Commission, and the University of Strathclyde to explore how human rights can be a facilitator for progressing land reform in Scotland. 

The Forum will bring together leading legal thinkers with expertise in land, property and human rights, from academia and practice, to provide independent, impartial advice to the Scottish Land Commission on the human rights implications of policy proposals and ideas. 

Scottish Land Commissioner Megan MacInnes said:

“Scotland’s land reform programme is rooted in a human rights framework with the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement outlining how more people can benefit from land. The land and human rights advisory forum is an important step in considering property rights – a critical part of our economy – alongside the public interest in realising economic, social, and cultural rights. 

“The way land and human rights are organised influences the distribution of power, wealth, resources, and benefits across much of our economy and society. There needs to be an equitable balance between property rights and wider human rights to drive economic, social, and environmental value, strengthen community resilience, and reduce inequalities.

“Working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, a leading institution in both land and human rights, can help to shape and connect emerging land reform and human rights policy, with leading expertise and academic rigour.”

Chair of the Land and Human Rights Advisory Forum, Malcolm Combe, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Strathclyde, said:

“Scotland is at an exciting point in terms of human rights and land reform, with two new bills anticipated in this parliamentary term. 

“I am really looking forward to chairing the forum and working with such an esteemed group of expertise at this important time for Scotland.”

The members of the Land and Human Rights Advisory Forum are:

•    Malcolm Combe (Chair), Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Strathclyde
•    Dr Jill Robbie, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Glasgow
•    Prof Alan Miller, Professor, University of Strathclyde
•    Prof Elisa Morgera, Professor, University of Strathclyde
•    Prof. John Lovett, Professor of Law, Loyola University of New Orleans, USA
•    Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, Retired QC, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Dundee
•    Craig Whelton, Partner, Burges Salmon
•    Eilidh Ross, Camus Consulting
•    Megan MacInnes (Observer), Scottish Land Commissioner

Countryside near Edinburgh with a view of the urban landscape in the distance