The History of Leith

March 24, 2007

Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer

The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer today publishes his first annual report.

The report, which has been presented to the Scottish Parliament, covers the period November 30, 2004 – March 31, 2006.

It comments on Treasure Trove matters dealt with by the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) and by the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP) and by its predecessor, the Treasure Trove Advisory Panel.

QLTR Norman McFadyen, who is also the Crown Agent, says:

“I am very pleased to present this first report on the operation of the Treasure Trove system in Scotland. The report forms part of the process of the modernisation of the system in response to the Review of Treasure Trove Arrangements in Scotland, which was undertaken by my predecessor, Sheriff Andrew C Normand and was published in 2003.

“My aim and that of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel is to deal with Treasure Trove in a consistent and transparent manner and to encourage more participation from the public both as possible finders or as museum visitors.

“I hope that on the basis of the contents of this first report readers will recognise that changes are actively being considered and implemented, all with a view to improving the accessibility and operational timetables of the Treasure Trove system in Scotland.”

Under the regalia minora common law rights of the Crown in Scotland, it is the prerogative of the Crown to receive all lost and abandoned property which is not otherwise owned.

There is no statutory definition of Treasure Trove, but it largely relates to what may be described as “portable antiquities” and can cover virtually anything (stone, wood, metal, woven material) which has lain concealed and which is thought, on the basis of its age or rarity, to be worth preserving for the nation. In practice this is overridden by and subsumed within the wider legal concept of bona vacantia (or ownerless goods).

The QLTR is the Crown office-holder responsible for claiming objects for the Crown under the law of Treasure Trove and bona vacantia. He has wider responsibilities for dealing with ownerless and abandoned property, including the estates of those who die without leaving a will and who have no known relatives and the assets of dissolved companies.

In relation to Treasure Trove, the role of the QLTR includes deciding on the allocation of objects to museums and the payment of rewards to finders, acting on the advice of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Advisory Panel (SAFAP) and with the support of the Treasure Trove Unit, which is based at the National Museum of Scotland and a small unit within Crown Office which is headed by a solicitor.

Members of the SAFAP, who serve voluntarily, are appointed by the Scottish Ministers. The chair of SAFAP is Professor Ian Ralston of the School of Arts, Culture and Environment, University of Edinburgh.

source-scottish Executive

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