§ For the purposes of this Act a certificate by any Government Department—
- (a) that possession has been taken of any land for purposes connected with the present War; or
- (b) that the Department is in possession of such land or is the Occupying Department within the meaning of this Act; or
- (c) that buildings, works, or improvements have for purposes connected with the present War been erected, constructed, or made on over or under any land wholly or partly at the expense of the State; or
- (d) that any such buildings, works, or improvements have been erected, constructed, or made with the consent of the Occupying Department at the expense of a person not being a person interested in the land; or
- (e) that a railway or tramway has been laid along, across, over, or under a public highway, or that a public highway has been closed, in the exercise of any prerogative right of His Majesty, or any powers conferred by or under any enactment relating to the defence of the realm for purposes connected with the present War; or
- (f) that water, light, heat, or power has been supplied to any premises on the requisition or at the request of a Government Department for purposes connected with the present War;
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move to leave out paragraph (c), and to insert instead thereof as a new paragraph "(c) that any sums therein specified have been expended by the State in erecting, constructing, or making buildings, works, or improvements for purposes connected with the present War on, over, or under any land."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to leave out the word "conclusive" ["shall be conclusive evidence "], and to insert instead thereof the words "primâ facie."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Colonel GRETTON
This Clause goes a very long way. It opens the door to all manner of certificates. For the purpose of this Act a certificate by any Government Department can be given about any of the matters, dealt with in the Clause. The War Office may issue a certificate for the Admiralty or the Admiralty may issue a certificate for the War Office. There is no limitation whatsoever for any Government Department. The Foreign Office may give a certificate as to any one of 2395 these questions. That seems to me to be a very serious defect. The mere fiat of a Government Department that something is a fact, known primâ facie to be a fact, is going a very long way outside of any principle which has been established in deciding the principles of justice and equity in this country. The subject has always had an appeal if he is aggrieved, and he ought not to be deprived of that appeal on the facts as stated by a Government Department. This Clause is a most startling one, although I must admit that it has been somewhat improved by the insertion of the words "primâ facie."
§ Question put, and agreed to.