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Lands Tribunal for Scotland

Retiral of Neil Tainsh

Last month marked the 25th anniversary of the arrival of Neil M Tainsh at the Lands Tribunal as its Clerk. Today marks his retiral. Between these dates lies a period of remarkable service to the Tribunal and its users as our regular practitioners will testify.

Before arriving at the Tribunal, in April 1996, Neil already had 17 years of service with Registers of Scotland under his belt and it was on secondment from the Registers that he came to the Tribunal. During these 17 years he worked not only in Edinburgh but in the Registers’ first non-Edinburgh office at Cowglen. It was a period which included the early days of the Land Register and the knowledge and experience he gained in various capacities at the Register was to prove invaluable to the Tribunal.

Neil’s was the latest in a series of secondments from the Registers to the position of Clerk to the Tribunal but what turned out to be different was that, whereas his predecessors had typically stayed for 3-5 years, Neil stayed for 25, throughout which time he maintained contacts at and a very good working relationship with the successive Keepers of the Register and their staff.

If his time at the Registers was one of change, Neil’s time at the Tribunal was one of revolution, with the abolition of the feudal system and the reform of land registration law. Some jurisdictions, such as tenants’ right to buy disappeared and new ones arrived, most notably, recently, our jurisdiction under the new Electronic Communications Code. Throughout that period of flux Neil has proved a steady hand on the tiller, providing successive Presidents and Members, as well as Tribunal users, with clear, analytical and authoritative advice and guidance. Not previously legally qualified, he studied part-time for an LLB degree at Napier University from 2003-2008 graduating with distinction and winning the University Medal.

They say that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but Neil’s rapier wit and unfailingly convivial company, at their best when the Tribunal was out doing cases up and down the length of Scotland, made sure that was never true in his case.

I close by recording my own immense gratitude to Neil for the unfailing, unflagging, unstinting support he has given me since my appointment, as an almost complete newcomer to the world of the LTS, as President in October 2014. He made my entry to the Tribunal world painless and has saved me from falling into error on more than one occasion since.

Neil will be very difficult to replace and until a replacement is found a rather heavy load will fall on Douglas Ballantyne and Eli do Rego but they have already proved themselves equal to that task during Neil’s absence for surgery last year.

I know that Tribunal practitioners will join me in wishing Neil the long, happy, rewarding retirement he deserves.

Lord Minginish
7 May, 2021