HC Deb 04 August 1883 vol 282 cc1575-80

Bill, as amended, considered.


moved the following new Clause to follow Clause 26:—

(Tenants to be removed only at legal terms—(43 Vic. c. 12.)

In any case in which the landlord's right of hypothec for the rent has ceased and determined, where six months' rent of the holding is due and unpaid, it shall be lawful to the landlord to raise an action of removing before the sheriff against the tenant, concluding for his removal from the holding at the term of Whitsunday or Martinmas next ensuing after the action is brought, and unless the rent is paid the sheriff may decree the tenant to remove, and eject him at said term in the same manner as if the lease were determined, and the tenant had been legally warned to remove. A tenant so removed shall have the rights of an outgoing tenant to which he would have been entitled if his lease had naturally expired at said term of Whitsunday or Martinmas. The second and third sections of 'The Hypothec Abolition (Scotland) Act, 1880,' are hereby repealed, and the provisions of the fifth section of the Act of Sederunt anent Removing of the fourteenth day of December one thousand seven hundred and fifty-six shall not apply in any case in which the procedure under this section is competent.

New Clause (Sir Charles W. Dilke) brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read the second time."


said, he hoped that the Lord Advocate would give some explanation of this clause, which modified very considerably the Hypothec Abolition Act of 1880.


said, that this clause had been introduced in fulfilment of a pledge given in Committee. It was then ex- plained by the Solicitor General that there had been a good deal of dissatisfaction in the agricultural community, arising out of the provisions of what was commonly called the Act of Sederunt of 1756, taken in combination with the Hypothec Abolition Act, 1880. Although the Act of Sederunt had not itself' any relation to hypothec, when the Act of 1880 was passed, abolishing entirely hypothec for the future, but reserving it as to existing leases, provisions were introduced intended to give to the landlord certain rights as to the removal of the tenant in consideration of his being deprived of the security which he had previously held under the Law of Hypothec. It was pointed out by many of the farmers and those who represented their interests that, under the combined effect of the Act of Sederunt and the Act of 1880, it might be possible that the tenant should be removed from his holding between terms. He had not been able to ascertain that such a thing had, in point of fact, taken place. Still, it was strongly felt to be possible, and that it would be a considerable hardship to a tenant, without its being, as far as one could see, in the general case, any advantage to the landlord. This clause had been framed for the purpose of providing that any removing of a tenant in consequence of his failure to comply with the conditions of his tenancy should only be at one of the legal terms of Whitsunday and Martinmas. The clause also reserved to the tenant the power of finding security as an alternative to going out.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause added to the Bill.

On the Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, Amendments made in Clause 4, page 2, line 33, after "improvement," by inserting— Or not exceeding such annual sum, payable for a period of twenty-five years, as will repay such outlay, with interest at the rate of three per centum per annum in the said period; Clause 17, page 6, line 29, after "awarded," by inserting "and the several matters and things taken into account in reduction of such compensation;" page 6, line 32, after "act," by inserting "matter;" Clause 24, page 8, line 21, after "executing," by inserting "and registering in the register of sasines; page 8, line 23, by leaving out "think fit," and inserting "determine;" page 8, line 24, by leaving out from "be," to "of a," and inserting "has only a leasehold interest in;" page 8, line 24, by leaving out "intimating," and inserting "and registering in the register of sasines;" page 8, line 27, by leaving out "think fit," and inserting "determine;" page 8, line 30, after "shall," by inserting by such bond and disposition in security or assignation; page 8, line 34, after "the," by leaving out "opinion," and inserting "judgment;" page 8, line 36, after "exhausted," by inserting— And such bond and disposition in security or assignation shall specify the times at which the total amount charged and each instalment thereof shall be payable; Clause 26, page 9, line 11, by leaving out from "landlord," to "the," in line 12, and inserting "has only a leasehold interest in."

Amendment proposed, In page 9, line 14, to leave out after the word "notwithstanding," to the word "Act," in line 22, inclusive, and insert the words "the expiration of the stipulated endurance of any lease, the tenancy shall not come to an end unless written notice has been given by either party to the other of his intention to bringing the tenancy to an end—

  1. (a.) In the case of leases for three years and upwards, not less than two years, nor more than three years, before the termination of the lease;
  2. (b.) In the case of leases from year to year, or for any other period less than three years, not less than six months before the termination of the lease.
"Failing such notice by either party the lease shall be held to be renewed by tacit relocation for another year, and thereafter from year to year.

(16 and 17 Vic. c. 80.)

Notice by the landlord to the tenant under this section shall be given in the form and manner prescribed by "The Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act, 1853," and shall come in place of the notice required by the said Act."—(The Lord Advocate.)

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


, who had given Notice to add to the clause the words— And where a forty days' notice, expiring with a year of a tenancy, is by Law necessary and sufficient for determination of a tenancy from year to year, a six months' notice so ex- piring shall, by virtue of this Act, be necessary, proceeded to refer to the evidence given before the Royal Commission by the local factor of the Duke of Sutherland.


I do not understand that the hon. Member raises any objection to the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate.


Yes, Sir; I do raise an objection for the purpose of procuring an explanation; and I, therefore, move to substitute 12 for six months.

Amendment proposed, in line 8, to leave out the word "six," and insert the word "twelve."—(Mr. Macfarlane.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'six' stand part of the said proposed Amendment."


said, he could not accept the Amendment, because he did not think it would be an improvement, but the reverse. If 12 months' notice were to be required, that must be before the commencement of the last 12 months, so that it would seem to involve this anomaly, speaking with all respect of those who had adopted it, that the now period or cycle of the lease was to begin after the notice. He submitted that six months was very ample notice, having regard to the yearly cycle, as all that could be claimed was such notice as would give the tenant an opportunity of getting his crop before leaving.


said, he thought something ought to be done to assimilate the law of Scotland on this matter to the law of England. Formerly, the notice in England was six months; but it had been altered to 12 months by the Agricultural Holdings Act. He hoped some tertium quid might be found which would place yearly tenants in Scotland on a footing more equal to their English brethren.


said, after the statement of the Lord Advocate he would not press his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment amended.

Words inserted.

On the Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, Amendments made, in Clause 27, page 9, at the end of the Clause, by adding— The provisions relative to notice herein contained shall not apply to any stipulation in a lease entitling the landlord to resume land for building, planting, or other purposes;

Clause 29, page 11, line 10, after the first "of," by leaving out "the," and inserting "such;" page 11, line 10, after "notice," by leaving out "of removal;" page 11, line 13, after "notice," by inserting "given by the tenant as aforesaid;" page 11, line 13, by leaving out "of removal."

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now real the third time."—(The Lord Advocate.)


said, that, in the absence of the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay), he felt it his duty to express regret that this Bill fell short of the desires of the farmers of Scotland. At the same time, he was bound to admit that, with the strong expression of opinion on the part of many Members opposite, he did not know that the Government could have done better than they had done. At the same time, he admitted the obligation they wore under to the Law Officers—the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland—for the way they had conducted the Bill, and for the Amendments they had accepted in the interest both of the landlords and the tenants. He still thought the Lord Advocate ought to consider whether, on Clause 2, some Amendment should not be made in "another place." At all events, now that the Bill was in a complete condition, the Government would be able to see what Amendment could be accepted. It would be wise for the landlords to give more consideration to the wishes of the tenants, as cultivation had fallen off very greatly, and there was a want of capital and means for carrying on farms. It was necessary that landlords and tenants should be on a footing of better relationship than at present existed.


said, he thought, as regarded the normal condition of the greater part of Scotland, this was a good Bill. Taking the county of Fife, he thought the Bill met all the reasonable demands of the farmers. He did not coincide with the opinion that it would be possible to go much further than the Government had done in this Bill. They could not go mate- rially further without introducing something like Irish tenant right; and he did not think that was at all desirable where the large farm contract system prevailed. But while he thought this Bill a very good one so far, there were, on the other hand, parts of Scotland—namely, the Highlands, inhabited by a Celtic population, where the tenure was of a totally different character to that in Other parts—indeed, it was very analogous to that which prevailed in Ireland. The condition of affairs in the Highlands was now the subject of an inquiry by a Royal Commission; and this Bill ought to be passed without prejudice to the claims or rights of those small farmers which might arise on the Report of the Commission.


said, he hoped his hon. Friend would not contest a Scotch county at the next Election, because, after that speech, he would stand a very poor chance of being returned.

Motion agreed to.(Queen's Consent signified) Bill read the third time, and passed.