THE Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) has welcomed confirmation from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead that the Lord Advocate is to press ahead with an appeal to the UK Supreme Court against the Court of Session's decision in Salvesen v Riddell.

In this case, Lord Gill ruled a law to protect tenant farmers was not compliant with the European Convention of Human Rights.

No date has been set for the hearing, but it is understood it should take place early this summer with a decision before the end of 2013.

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The Court of Session's ruling in March 2012 (on Salvesen v Riddell) enforced a notice to quit on an agricultural tenant in a limited partnership tenancy.

This decision overturned the Land Court's original award in 2010 of security of tenure to the late Andrew Riddell, of Peaston Farm, Ormiston in East Lothian.

Commenting on the news, STFA chairman Angus McCall said: "This is a highly complex legal situation. It not only affects tenant farmers, but will inevitably impact on the law-making ability of the devolved parliament.

"There are still about 500 limited partnership tenancies remaining, some of which are subject to a notice to quit served back in 2003, and it is vitally important the position of these tenants is clarified as soon as possible so they can plan for the future."

Market round-up

ABERDEEN and Northern Marts sold 162.9 units of Single Farm Payment Entitlements at Thainstone on Friday.

The average multiplier rate, at the standard euro conversion rate of 0.79805 was 1.6, with a top multiplier of 1.7 for two lots, totalling 97.52 units, with a euro value of 342.21 each.

The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart sold 917 cast ewes and 227 cast rams in Dumfries on Friday, when all classes were easier. Ewes sold to £91 for Texels and £42 for Blackfaces, while rams peaked at £100 for Leicesters and £53.50 for Blackfaces.

There were also 1317 store hoggs forward. Top prices and averages: Texels to £55.50 and averaged £43.41; Mules £50.50 and £34.14; Suffolks £46 and £43.52; Blackfaces £44 and £26.23.

John Swan sold 43 prime bullocks in St Boswells yesterday to average 213p (-4.7p on the week), while 71 prime heifers levelled at 212.4p (-3.8p).

In the rough ring, 90 beef-type OTM cattle averaged 135p (+1.8p).

There were also some 2510 prime hoggs that averaged 143.3p (-9.1p), while 787 cast sheep levelled at £50.35 (-£6.87).

Craig Wilson sold 1222 prime hoggs at Ayr yesterday to a top of £85 per head and 187.5p per kg to average 144.9p (+8.3p).

There were also 475 cast sheep forward, with ewes selling to £95 for Texels and £49 for Blackfaces.