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Scott Wortley


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Personal profile


Scott Wortley was educated at the University of Edinburgh graduating LLB (Honours) in 1994. He qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and was employed at the Scottish Law Commission as senior legal assistant on the Scottish Law Commission projects on feudal abolition (culminating in the Report on Abolition of the Feudal System which was implemented by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000) and Real Burdens. He was heavily involved in the research for the Discussion Paper on Real Burdens, and the subsequent Report on Real Burdens.

From 2000-2005 he was a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde.

In 2002-2003 he was adviser to the Justice 1 committee of the Scottish parliament on the Title Conditions (Scotland) Bill assisting in the preparation of the Stage 1 report and amendments submitted by committee members during Stage 2 of the parliamentary process. The bill, based on the Scottish Law Commission work on real burdens, was enacted as the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003.

During 2005 he was a consultant to the Scottish Executive in its work on the reform of diligence (enforcement of decrees) against land. This project culminated in the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc (Scotland) Act 2007.

Scott is a former member of the Law Society of Scotland Conveyancing Committee and the Joint Consultative Committee between the Registers of Scotland and Law Society of Scotland. He is a former convener of the board of examiners of the Law Society of Scotland and has been an external examiner in the law school at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of West of Scotland, and the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He was a member of the working group assisting the Scottish Law Commission in its work on moveable transactions.

Research Interests

Scott initially researched in the areas of property law, conveyancing, and rights in security (including floating charges) but now works primarily  researching issues in legislation, the legislative process, and statutory interpretation. 

He is currently working on issues relating to statutory interpretation in a Scottish context, considering relationships between the application of legislation in practice and its construction, and the consideration of the intended audiences for legislation on legislative drafting and the construction of legislation..

In the past he has written on the law of real burdens, issues in transfer of ownership, and the law of floating charges and diligence. He co-authored the 3rd edition of Scottish Land Law (with the late Professor W M Gordon), and the seventh edition of Professor McDonald's Conveyancing Manual. (with Andrew JM Steven and David A Brand). His work on the interaction between floating charges and diligence was relied on in the five judge decision in MacMillan v T Leith Developments Ltd [2017] CSIH 23.

Scott has supervised PhD students on the law of floating charges, nuisance in Scots law, the implied term relating to quality in sales of goods, the law of positive prescription, and the law of possession. 

He welcomes expressions of interest in postgraduate research in matters relating to statutory interpretation (both within the UK and on a comparative basis across anglo-american jurisdictions) and at the interface of property and commercial law, particularly on the topics of obligations encumbering land, and the law relating to insolvency processes, rights in security, debt and debt enforcement.



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