§ THE LORD ADVOCATE moved for leave to introduce a Bill to improve the system of Registration of Writs relating to Heritable Property in Scotland. He said: I shall, in moving for leave to introduce this Bill, detain the House for a very short time. There is an admirable system of registration of deeds in Scotland, which is supported by fees, and not out of the public funds. The local registers draw the full fees, and are not responsible for any surplus. In the general registry the fees are devoted to payment of the salaries of officers, and a considerable surplus each year accrues to Government. Now, it is 1283 proposed that these local registers shall be abolished, compensation being given to holders of offices, and that there shall be one system of registration, which would tend to facilitate the searching for incumbrances, by making it necessary to search only in one register instead of two; and it will conduce to economy, because when the registration is concentrated in Edinburgh, the fees of the local registers will be saved, and, by concentration of management, the Government will be able to reduce the fees to be paid by proprietors who wish their deeds registered. This reduction of fees will be on a graduated scale, having reference to the value of property to which the deeds relate. The Bill was founded to some extent upon the recommendation of the Commission appointed in 1861 by the right hon. Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey) then a Secretary of State. The Commission reported favourably of the proposed amalgamation of the registers, and a Bill was brought in in 1866 to give effect to the recommendation. That Bill was sent to a Select Committee, who approved of it, with certain modifications; but the Bill was not passed then, as it was near the end of the Session. In the last Session the Bill was reintroduced; but owing to the House being otherwise so much occupied, it was not carried. Therefore, I now move for leave to re-introduce the measure, and shall only mention that it contains a provision by which the printed abridgement of the registers for 1781 to the present time will be transmitted, not only to the different districts where the local registers were formerly kept, but also to each county; and law agents will be able to make searches for themselves, if they trust to these, instead of going to the General Registry in Edinburgh.
Motion agreed to.
Bill to improve the system of Registration of Writs relating to Heritable Property in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by The LORD ADVOCATE, Mr. Secretary GATHORNE HARDY, and Mr. WALPOLE.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 56.]