§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee), be now considered."
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
said that this was a Bill of a most complicated character, relating entirely to England. It was to be regretted that the Government had not, when introducing a measure of this kind, availed themselves of the opportunity of practically consolidating the whole law on the subject. That could have been done in a very simple manner. As the Bill stood at the present moment it was impossible to consider the effect of it without going consecutively through the whole of the statutes from the Judgments Act of 1838, which were more or less repealed by the Schedule. So far as the operative effect of a judgment as a charge upon land was concerned, that was contained in Section 13 of the Act of 1838, but that section had no relation to the law as it at 388 present stood. All that was necessary to simplify the law was to recast practically the sections of the Act of 1838 which were still operative, and adapt them to the existing state of the law. If that had been done and another clause added dealing with lites pendens, they would have had the whole of the law relating to judgments as charges on land in one Bill. As it was the matter was left in so complicated a state that it would be very difficult indeed for any ordinary practitioner to know what the law really was. Then, the law was not to come into operation for a year, which would prevent consolidation for some time. He hoped that some attempt would be made, at no distant date, to consolidate the law and put it into a simpler form.
§ MR. CALDWELL, in moving the Amendment standing in his name, said it was stated that the business of the Registrar of Judgments was to be transferred to the Land Registry, and power 389 was given to the Lord Chancellor, by order, to arrange for the abolition of the office of Registrar of Judgments. It did seem strange to provide for the transfer of an office and then for its abolition. It seemed to him that there was no very clear reason for abolishing the office, for it would have to remain for certain purposes connected with the registration of lites pendens. Again, the Bill was not to affect the Register of Scotch and Irish judgments. He merely formally moved his Amendment to enable the Attorney General to give an expression of opinion on the subject.
In page 1, line 12, to leave out from the word 'transfer,' to the end of Sub-section I, of Clause 1."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
desired to acknowledge the spirit which the hon. Member had shown on this subject, in which he had taken a great interest, and in connection with which he had had the opportunity of conferring with him. He hoped the hon. Member would not press his Amendment. The office itself was not to be transferred to the Land Registry, but the business of the office. The registration of lites pendens would also go to the Land Registry, subject to the rules in the Statute Book. The abolition of the office of the Registrar of Judgments would in no way affect the registration of Scotch or Irish judgments. As to the abolition of the office, if the Lord Chancellor found that it was necessary that the office should still continue to exist, the power of abolition placed in his hands would not be exercised without careful consideration.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I do not object to the Third Reading being now taken, hut I hope the Attorney General will 390 give us some information on the subject of consolidation.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am sure the House will realise that there are many difficulties connected with the question of consolidation, but I hope in a subsequent session to have the assistance of the hon. Gentleman in endeavouring to pass a measure of that kind