Crofting lawyer Brian Inkster has taken up the case of the Mangersta Common Grazings Committee.
This followed revelations that both it and the Upper Coll Common Grazings Committee, had been removed from office by the Crofting Commission.
And now Mr Inkster has spoken out concerning the Mangersta situation following his appointment by the former clerk and four former committee members to represent their interests.
He said: “It is very clear to me that the Crofting Commission in deciding to remove the clerk to and members of the Mangersta Common Grazings Committee from office took a decision so unreasonable that no reasonable person acting reasonably could have made it.
“This is a settled test in law known as the Wednesbury principle. Furthermore that decision was based on a complaint concerning financial matters that the Crofting Commission had no remit to handle. The Crofting Commission’s own guidelines in this respect state:
‘The Commission will not get involved in any matter relating to alleged financial impropriety. This is potentially a civil and/or criminal matter and should be dealt with by the relevant authorities.’
“I have therefore written a letter to the Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission calling upon the Crofting Commission to issue an apology to my clients and to reinstate them as members of and clerk to the Mangersta Common Grazings Committee without further delay.”
Mr Inkster also says that whilst the Crofting Commission purported to appoint a Grazings Constable to administer the Mangersta Grazings Regulations they do not have the power to do so under section 47(8) of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993.
He says the only ability that the Crofting Commission has to appoint a Grazings Constable falls under section 47(3) of the 1993 Act. This is where the crofters who share in a common grazing fail at any time to appoint a grazing committee.
Mr Inkster concluded that: “If the Crofting Commission decide to remove a committee of five and a clerk from office they must appoint, or provide for the appointment of, five committee members and a clerk to replace them.
“Therefore the Crofting Commission has acted illegally in appointing a Grazings Constable and any actions taken by him are null and void.”
(This item has been reposted on to the website following an inadvertent loss of data)