HC Deb 19 June 1882 vol 270 cc1588-9

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Sullivan v. Bowen. lately decided by Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in Ireland, in which that tribunal decided (reversing the judgment of the Irish Land Commission) that a tenant's application under the 21st section of the Irish Land Act, to break a lease forced on him by threat of eviction should be dismissed on the ground that, at the date when the lease was forced on the tenant, the notice to quit served on him as a preliminary to eviction had expired, and thus determined the yearly tenancy under which he had previously held, and that, therefore, one of the elements necessary for the success of a lease-breaking application, viz. the existence of a yearly tenancy at the date of the acceptance of the lease, did not exist in the case; whether, having regard to this further evidence of the failure of section 21 of the Land Act, he can state the intentions of the Government as regards the amendment of this section; and, whether he will have any objection to the granting of a Return setting forth the number of lease-breaking eases actually adjudicated upon by the Land Commission, the result of each case, and as regards cases in which the tenant's application was dismissed, showing in each case which of the three elements necessary for the success of such an application under the section as it stands, viz.: (a) existence of a yearly tenancy at date when lease was accepted; (b) threat of eviction or undue influence by landlord; and (c) existence in lease of unreasonable terms, was wanting, so as to cause the dismissal of the application?


Sir, as I have obtained a Report from the Land Commissioners dealing with the matters of fact referred to in this Question, I may, perhaps, be permitted to answer it. With regard to the first paragraph of the Question, it is the case that a judgment of the Irish Land Commissioners was reversed by Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in Ireland as detailed by the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy). With regard to the final paragraph of the Question, the Return could not be given. If it were granted, it would im- pose on the Judicial Commissioner the necessity for perusing the notes in every one of the 600 or 700 cases which have been heard. The duties which he has to discharge render his doing so a physical impossibility. I will, however, look into the question further, and see if the Return can be given in a somewhat different form. The second paragraph of the Question deals with a matter of policy, upon which I cannot give the hon. Member any information.


having subsequently repeated the Question, and addressed it again to the Prime Minister,


Yes, Sir. Probably I failed to make myself understood on a former day; but I may now state that the question of the Lease Clauses was one of those I had in view, when I said that, at a certain time, the Government would think it right to state their intentions with respect to various points of importance connected with the Land Act. These points are the Purchase Clauses, the Lease Clauses, and the Clauses with respect to Labourers. I do not, however, think it would be of any advantage to make a statement on the subject, until we see our way to the conclusion of the proceedings connected with the two Bills now before the House—namely, the Prevention of Crime Bill and the Bill dealing with Arrears of Rent.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he will include emigration?


No, Sir; I am not in a position to say whether the Government will make any statement with regard to emigration.