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The foreshore: geographical implications of the three legal systems in Great Britain

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Despite the word ‘foreshore’ being in common usage relating to the coast, it has three distinct legal definitions in Great Britain. There are three property law regimes, English law in England and Wales, Scots law (feudal) in Scotland and Udal tenure in parts of Orkney and Shetland. These result in the boundaries between private property interests and public property interests lying in a different position on the beach area under each of these property regimes. This paper examines the physical extent of each of the foreshore definitions and highlights a number of associated issues that rely on these different boundaries fundamentally impacting upon the management of the coast.

Keywords: English law; Great Britain; Scots law; Udal law; foreshore; private property

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Environmental Systems Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4NH, Email: 2: Department of Law, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4NH

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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