HC Deb 19 March 1917 vol 91 c1553

asked the Solicitor-General whether his attention has been called to the decision of the Court of Appeal on 1st March in Sharp Brothers and Knight versus Chant, which reversed the decisions of the Divisional Court and the County Court, so that the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (War Restrictions) Act, 1915, does not avoid and annul payment of rent in excess of pre-war rent after 25th November, 1915, where a landlord has increased the lent during the War and before that date; and whether, seeing that this decision appears to be contrary to the intention of Parliament, His Majesty's Government will introduce an amendment to the Courts (Emergency Powers) Bill now before this House to restore the decision of the Divisional and County Courts?

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Gordon Hewart)

I am aware of the decision to which the hon. and learned Member refers. The Court of Appeal appears to have held (1) that the Statute is not retrospective to a greater extent than is clearly implied by its words; and (2) that payments made in mistake of law, and under an agreement lawful at the time of its being made, are not recoverable. This decision involves no element of novelty, nor does it appear to call for an amendment of the Statute.