Constitution for Scotland Public Consultation Hub

Section 1.5. On and below all of the land, including all mineral and extraction right, all inland water bodies and territorial seas and the airspace of Scotland are an inseparable and indivisible whole, belonging to the people of Scotland collectively as a nation, as communities and as individuals.

Proposed Amendments to Section

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Original Version

  • Avatar admin
    Administrator #1  •  2020-08-16 22:04:53

    Section 1.5. Section 1.5. On and below all of the land, including all mineral and extraction right, all inland water bodies and territorial seas and the airspace of Scotland are an inseparable and indivisible whole, belonging to the people of Scotland collectively as a nation, as communities and as individuals.

      • Liz g

        Section 1.5. I'm not sure this could stand...Belonging To.... is the problem.
        We haven't sorted out Land Ownership Yet ... So we can't claim ownership..
        We can however define what constitutes "owning " any resources that could be classified as Scottish, or owned in Scotland.
        We've a way to go before that Sovereignty of ours translates into actual title deeds!!
        The answer ( as I see it ) lies in Taxation and Inheritance rights.
        We have nae obligation tae follow the Westminster taxation model and everyone knows that...we therefore have nae obligations, I'd say, tae follow their notions of inheritance either???

          • BillC

            Section 1.5. That looks like a more detailed discussion, about ownership and therefore the ability to sell something. I'd like to see a situation in which all the land is in common ownership, but I reckon we're a long way from that. So, we're looking here for wording which says "this land, sea, and air, is Scotland's, and is the responsibilty of the Scottish people through their parliament".
            I'd be looking at the provision in the constitution of other countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and maybe Ireland which has been through the experience of being part of th British empire, to see how they have worded this and other aspects of their constitution.

            No responses
          • jeanepark

            Section 1.5. "belonging to the people of Scotland collectively as a nation, as communities and as individuals." I agree this is a bit of a minefield, but I would hope a future Scottish government would sort out the question of land ownership (sporting estates) and inheritance.

            No responses
      • Caledonialan

        Section 1.5. I agree with other commentators. Once the national territory has been defined (in the previous section, though I would prefer to see it as a separate article), that should be sufficient for constitutional purposes. What does "collectively as a nation, as communities and as individuals" mean or add in that context? Some parts belong to individuals, some to corporations, some to communities or associations, some to trusts, some to the nation as a whole (and I've probably left out a few possibilities). Is this trying to reinstate some sort of feudal ownership, in which the people of Scotland are the ultimate overlord? If so, it requires substantive revision of the Scots law of property, in which feudal ownership was abolished not so long ago. And it is a general principle of land ownership, which does not need repeating in a constitution, that ownership rights extend from the centre of the earth to the skies above. I would delete this section.

        No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 1.5.

  • Caledonialan

    Second rewriting, having regard to Arfem's comments

    Section 1.5. The people of Scotland are custodians of the land and territorial waters of the nation, together with the natural and mineral resources pertaining thereto. The people of Scotland shall exercise that custodianship having regard to their environmental and other responsibilities towards the community of nations as a whole. In that light, the ownership of any part of the national territory, other than by the State, shall be subject to fair taxation which reflects not only the assessed value of the property and its importance to the nation of Scotland but also the impact of its use on the environment.

    4 votes  |  I agree 4 I disagree 0
    No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 1.5.

  • Caledonialan

    Complete rewording possibly in line with Arfem's view

    Section 1.5. The ownership of any part of the national territory, other than by the State, shall be subject to fair taxation which reflects both the assessed value of the property and its importance to the nation of Scotland.

    1 vote  |  I agree 0 I disagree 1
    No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 1.5.

  • Caledonialan

    Deletion

    Section 1.5. [This section should be deleted.]

      • Arfem

        Section 1.5. I would guess the drafters of this knew it was a can of worms, but this “model” is here to stimulate ideas and discussion – and there are principles here that need to be addressed. If that means changing the law to accommodate a majority view, then surely that’s what a consultation on a Constitution is about – not just deleting and going away….

          • Caledonialan

            Section 1.5. Very well - and I'm all in favour of discussion. But what are the principles that need to be addressed? And what do you take the section to mean, in concrete terms? It seems to me to be saying that the whole national territory belongs, in the first place, collectively to the people; then, perhaps again collectively, to local communities; finally as individuals. The only way I can make sense of this (though there may be others) is as a kind of "communist feudalism" in which all land is held of the people - just as, in medieval times, it was held of the king; there would then be the equivalent of feudal vassals and a system of subinfeudation such as was abolished in Scotland between 2000 and 2004. My impression was that this draft constitution was intended to provide a workable framework for a newly independent Scotland, rather than to overturn vast swathes of existing Scots law.

              • Arfem

                Section 1.5. I agree this is more an aspiration than a potentially incisive piece of legislation. It probably reflects, rightly or wrongly, a widely held view that there are too many anonymous foreign landowners in Scotland; still too many tied homes and that there is some immorality about owning land and paying little or no tax on it – something being addressed in 8.6. Bearing in mind that there will likely be at least three versions of a Constitution to be considered by a Constitutional Convention prior to the legislative process and when the constitutional lawyers set about them, I guess we need some imaginative amendment here. Let's just use our own interpretations!

                  • Caledonialan

                    Section 1.5. I like this idea; though, if that was the intention of the provision, it is obscurely worded. However many drafts are to be considered by a constitutional convention, it is important that each be clear and internally coherent. My tentative interpretation involves a rewriting of property law; yours of property tax law. In that context, bear in mind Article 1, section 3, which provides that any prior legislation incompatible with the constitution will have no effect. If the relevant law were not changed before the constitution came into force, all such legislation would be open to challenge as to its validity, with potentially chaotic results. I maintain my view that this constitution should provide a workable framework for an independent Scotland, not just a list of aspirations. None the less, below I suggest an amendment that might perhaps fit with your idea. Please comment on it.

                      • Admin/CfS6

                        Section 1.5. Caledonian - would you accept these introductory words to your amendment? This Constitution recognizes that there exists an inherent if indefinable Public Trust and interest to be exercised over all the land and natural resources of the Nation.....(then as before)

                        No responses
                      • Arfem

                        Section 1.5. Caledonian - would you accept these introductory words to your amendment? This Constitution recognizes that there exists an inherent if indefinable Public Trust and interest to be exercised over all the land and natural resources of the Nation. Then your wording as before.

                          • Caledonialan

                            Section 1.5. I'm not keen on the word "indefinable", since everything in a constitution should be capable of definition. And "inherent" doesn't really amount to much, either. But I do see your point. Indeed, I thank you for leading me to think along other lines. How about something like: "The people of Scotland are custodians of the land and territorial waters of the nation, together with the natural and mineral resources pertaining thereto. The people of Scotland shall exercise that custodianship having regard to their environmental and other responsibilities towards the community of nations as a whole. In that light, the ownership of any part of the national territory, other than by the State, shall be subject to fair taxation which reflects not only the assessed value of the property and its importance to the nation of Scotland but also the impact of its use on the environment."?

                              • Caledonialan

                                Section 1.5. By the way, my pseudo is Caledonialan, not Caledonian ...

                                  • Arfem

                                    Section 1.5. Caledonialan - this strays over the word/character limit (75 words (450 characters) but there's scope here for a bit of polishing....
                                    As Custodians of the land and territorial waters of the nation, its natural and mineral resources and environment, the people of Scotland determine that the ownership of any part of the national territory, other than by the State, shall be subject to fair taxation which reflects not only the assessed value of the property and its importance to the nation of Scotland but also the impact of its use upon the environment

                                      • Caledonialan

                                        Section 1.5. I have to admit that I don't find the 75-word limit helpful, although I do agree that drafting should be kept as simple and short as possible. My solution, if the limit must be adhered to (several sections in the original draft are more than 75 words) would be simply to split the text into three sections. That, I think, would also make it more understandable by separating out the three ideas. I'd quite like to keep the reference to "the community of nations as a whole".

                                          • Caledonialan

                                            Section 1.5. By the way, I also suggested under Article 1.1 (since there seems to be no way to comment on an article as a whole) that the article should be split into several articles and that the current sections 4 and 5 should be in an article entitled "National territory".

                                            No responses

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