The Scottish Government has ordered a review into the governance arrangements of crofting's statutory body, the Crofting Commission. Fergus Ewing, the crofting minister, has stated that the review will "promote effective governance within the Crofting Commission and it is an opportunity to take stock, learn from experiences and examine positives as well as opportunities for improvement".

The review follows three disputes between the Crofting Commission and groups of crofters at Bohuntin, Upper Coll and Mangersta regarding the management of their respective common grazings. Common grazings are areas of land used by crofters holding a right to graze stock on that land and the crofters elect committees to manage them. One dispute concerned the Crofting Commission's decision to dismiss the Upper Coll grazings committee and appoint officials to run the grazings due to a perceived failure of the committee to provide audited accounts.

Fergus Ewing asked the Crofting Commission to rescind certain decisions and to apologise to the affected crofters for the way that the three cases were handled. The Convener of the Crofting Commission, Colin Kennedy, has insisted that the Commission acted wholly within the law at all times. The Board of the Crofting Commission passed a motion calling on Mr Kennedy to stand down from his position, which he has refused to do. In the absence of the Convener, Board members issued a public apology for the Commission's actions in the disputes with the crofters. Mr Kennedy has issued a formal complaint against Mr Ewing alleging a breach of the ministerial code, which is being investigated.

There will be a review of systems, procedures and support mechanisms of the Commission, including those used in the decision-making in the three cases at Bohuntin, Upper Coll and Mangersta. The decisions taken will not be examined, however. The review will also look at the handling of conflicts of interest.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch withyour usual Brodies contact, or Chloe Wales.