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Act 14, 2015 (XIV) – Act authorising the Board of Trustees to deal with Petitions relating to Properties held under the Model Trust Deed. 19th May 2015.

The General Assembly approve the recommendations of the Board of Trustees in relation to an expedited process for dealing with petitions relating to properties held under the Model Trust Deed. They enact and ordain as follows:

1. The General Assembly, with reference to the Acts of the General Assembly hereinafter referred to and to the title deeds of properties held in terms of the Model Trust Deed, hereby nominate and appoint the Board of Trustees of the Free Church of Scotland, as successor to the General Trustees of the Free Church of Scotland in terms of Act XXIII, 2007 of the General Assembly (the said Board of Trustees being herein referred to whenever the expression “the Board of Trustees” is used), as the body to whom the General Assembly hereby delegate (but subject to the terms hereof) all the powers conferred upon or reserved to the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly by (One) (a) Condition SIXTHLY of the Model Trust Disposition (the said Model Trust Disposition being herein referred to whenever the expression “the Model Trust Deed” is used), narrated within Act XVIII, 1844: Act Anent the Trust Deed, (b) Act VIII, 1863, (c) Act X, 1875, and (d) Act IV, 1889, all as the said four aforementioned Acts are amended by Act V, 1967, (e) Act II, 1968, (f) Act II, 1982, and (g) Act XXXI, 2009 and (Two) the terms of the titles of heritable properties where the trustees holding the same are, due to such terms, subject in any way to the regulation and direction of the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly as regards the disposal of the properties or the use of the proceeds of sale thereof, so that the Board of Trustees may hereafter (subject to the provisions for review aftermentioned) be the sole determining body in relation to the powers hereby delegated. For the avoidance of doubt, the powers hereby delegated will include powers to revoke or modify any existing determinations made in Acts or deliverances by the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly in regard to the matters hereby delegated.

2. Without prejudice to section 5 hereof, all applications to the Board of Trustees for authority to sell or otherwise dispose of any property where the trustees holding the same are, in terms of the title deeds, subject in any way to the regulation and direction of the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly as regards the disposal thereof or the use of the proceeds of sale thereof, including, without prejudice to the foregoing generality, any property held in terms of the Model Trust Deed under the powers hereby delegated shall proceed from the Deacons’ Court or Finance Committee with the concurrence of the Kirk Session and of the Congregation, and shall have obtained the sanction of the Presbytery of the bounds. Such applications shall state the reasons for the application and the purpose to which it is desired that any proceeds of sale be applied.

3. The Board of Trustees will be bound, upon making a determination hereunder, to intimate such determination forthwith by notice in writing to the Presbytery or Presbyteries concerned and also to the Deacons’ Court or Courts or Finance Committee or Committees of the Congregation or Congregations directly affected; on receipt by the Clerk of the Presbytery of the notice of the determination of the Board of Trustees, it will be his duty to give sufficient intimation of the same to the next ordinary meeting of Presbytery thereafter; but notwithstanding the provisions of section 1 hereof, any Presbytery concerned or any Deacons’ Court or Finance Committee having title or interest and who considers any such determination by the Board of Trustees to be unreasonable may within two months of the date of the meeting of Presbytery to which intimation has been made as aforesaid, lodge with the Clerks of Assembly a Petition to the General Assembly for review of any such determination; provided always that in such circumstances a review will be competent only if the Petition therefor is lodged timeously with the Clerks of Assembly and written intimation thereof given at the same time to the Board of Trustees.

4. With reference to sections 2 and 3 hereof, in any case where, in the opinion of the Board of Trustees special circumstances exist, including, without prejudice to that generality, the situation where the property is held for other than congregational purposes or a Congregation has dissolved, an application may proceed otherwise than is provided in the said section; and the whole provisions of the said section, including those relative to determination and right of appeal, will have effect with regard to such application and determination, all with such modifications as may be appropriate in the circumstances.

5. In the event of the Board of Trustees being of the opinion that any individual matter hereunder should be determined by the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly, they are empowered ex proprio motu to bring such matter before the General Assembly or Commission of Assembly for determination.

6. Where any funds which are or may be subject to the terms of this Act are to be applied in the purchase of any heritable property, the Custodier of Titles is directed to see the transaction carried into effect and also to see that the title deeds of the new property are either (a) taken in the same terms as those of the old, or in terms of the Model Trust Deed or (b) vested in the Board of Trustees.

7. Where the proceeds of sale of a property are not to be immediately applied to the purchase of another property, they shall be deposited or invested, in the meantime, in the name of the Board of Trustees, for behoof of the Congregation.

8. It is hereby declared that any determination made under the powers hereby delegated authorising the sale or disposal of property will (unless acted upon) lapse after a period of five years from the date thereof.

9. Act VIII, 1963 and Act IV, 1889, both as amended by Act V, 1967, are hereby repealed.

10. Act XVIII, 1844 is from the date of this Act to be interpreted so that the consent of the General Assembly or the Commission of Assembly, as delegated to the Board of Trustees in terms of this Act, shall be evidenced by a certificate issued by the Custodier of Titles or the Secretary to the Board of Trustees.