§ (2) Where a question is so referred to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue the Commissioners shall not proceed by arbitration, but shall cause an assessment to be made in accordance with the rules for the assessment of compensation under this Act, and the following provisions shall have effect:
§ (e) if either party refuses or neglects to comply with any direction or requirement of the Commissioners, the Commissioners 1754 may decline to proceed with the matter, and in that case the question shall be referred to an official valuer as if there had. been no reference to the Commissioners, and the official valuer when awarding costs shall take into consideration any report of the Commissioners as to the refusal or neglect which rendered such a reference to him necessary.
§ (3)Where a question is so referred to an arbitrator, the provisions of this Act except Sections one and four and so much of Section three as requires proceedings to be in public and as pro vides for the fixing of fees, shall apply as if the arbitrator was an official valuer.
§ (4)Either party to a claim for compensation may require the Commissioners for Inland Revenue to assess the value of the land in respect of which the claim arises, and a copy of any such assessment shall be sent forthwith by the Com missioners to the other party, and a certified copy of such assessment shall be admissible in evidence of that value in proceedings before the official valuer.
§ Lords Amendments:
§ Leave out the word "valuer," and insert instead thereof the word"arbitrator."— Agreed to.
§ In Sub-section (3), leave out the word "so"["question is so referred"].— Agreed to.
§ After the word "arbitrator"["so referred to an arbitrator"], insert the words "under Sub-section (1) of this Section."— Agreed to.
§ In Sub-section (4), at end, add the words "and the officer who made the assessment shall attend, if the official arbitrator so require, to answer such questions as the official arbitrator may think fit to put to him thereon."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I should like to understand a little more clearly the meaning of this Amendment. Clause 8 gives power to refer to the arbitration of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue where the parties so agree. It will be remembered that in Committee and on Report in this House one of our main contentions was that the valuation of the necessary compensation to be paid for the acquisition of land should be carried through by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue rather than by the special body it was proposed to be set up under the Bill. The Clause was a matter of considerable discussion and indeed agreement to a very large extent. I am glad to acknowledge that the Attorney-General went as far as he could in this House to meet the points 1755 put to him. This Clause was discussed pretty fully upstairs, and was further discussed on Report. It had as full a consideration by the Committee and by the House as any Clause in the Bill, I always regarded it as one of the mitigating features of an other-wise wholly objectionable measure. Therefore I am rather anxious to know what the meaning of this proposal is. I will read a part of the Clause as it affects the proposed Amendment, and see if I can understand it better as I read it—Either party to a claim for compensation may require the Commissioners for Inland Revenue to assess the value of the land in respect of which the claim arises and a copy of any such assessment shall be sent forthwith by the Com missioners to the other party, and a certified copy of such assessment shall be admissible in evidence of that value in proceedings before the official valuerThen it goes on to say:and the officer who made the assessment shall attend, if the official arbitrator so require, to answer such Questions as the official arbitrator may think fit to put to him thereon.If I remember rightly one of the points was that it was unfair to have this gentleman before the arbitrator for the purpose of examination and cross-examination as to what his views were of the value of the land proposed to be taken. The fairest thing to do was simply to take his assessment and to leave it to speak for itself. Perhaps the Attorney-General will give us some further explanation why he proposes now to accept this Amendment.
§ Sir G. HEWART
It is necessary to distinguish between two things. There was the question raised in Committee, and the matter was made plain in the Bill that by consent the question of compensation might be referred to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, and I undertook to put words into the Bill which would make that quite plain. That is Clause 8, Sub-section (1) —Nothing in this Act shall prevent, if the parties. so agree, the reference of any question as to disputed compensation or apportionment of rent to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, or to an arbitrator agreed on between the parties.That is one and a totally separate matter from what follows. That is where the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, by agreement between the parties, take upon themselves the burden of determining the question. But then it was further provided, and unless my memory plays me false I made the proposal myself in Com- 1756 mittee, upon the suggestion very largely of my right hon. Friend opposite, that apart altogether from the question of a reference by consent to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue either party to a claim for compensation might require the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to assess the value, and we further provided that a copy of the assessment should be sent forthwith by the Commissioners to the other party and that a certified copy of that assessment should be admissible in evidence of that value in proceedings before the official valuer. I think there were two Members of the House who were especially active in regard to that matter, one was my right hon. Friend opposite and the other was my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Scott). What is further provided by the Amendment made in another place, to which I am now asking the House to agree, is that that certificate of assessment shall be made still more useful in any proceedings which may thereafter arise by enabling the arbitrator in those proceedings, if he thinks fit, to require the attendance of the officer who made the assessment in order that he may put questions to that officer upon the assessment. The object of the Amendment is hot to subtract from but to add to the value of the provision contained in the Bill.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I am sorry to say at the moment I am not aware whether it was or not, but it certainly was not put in against the wish of the Government or with any indication of hostility on the part of: the Government.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Lords Amendment:
§ After Clause 8, insert new Clause (A): —
§ (Certificates of Value of Official Arbitrators.)
§ (A) An official arbitrator may on the application of any person certify the value of land being sold by him to a Government Department or public or local authority and the sale of the land to the Department or authority at the price so certified shall be deemed to be a sale at the best price that can reasonably be obtained.1757
§ Sir G. HEWART
This was inserted for the benefit and protection of trustees. It was thought it might be said where land was parted with in this way at the end of the Cestui que trust or otherwise that the trustees had not sold the land at the best price. It is, therefore, provided that the official arbitrator may, upon application, certify that the value of the land being sold by them to a Government Department at the price certified is a sale at the best price.
§ Question put, and agreed to Lords Amendment:
§ (Saving for Statutory Purchases of Statutory Undertakings.)
§ (1) The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any purchase of the whole or any part of any statutory undertaking under any statutory pro visions in that behalf prescribing the terms on which the purchase is to be effected.
§ (2) For the purposes of this Section the expression "statutory undertaking" means an undertaking established by Act of Parliament or order having the force of an Act, and the expression "statutory provisions" includes the pro visions of an order having the force of an Act.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the, Lords in the said Amendment."
Under various Acts of Parliament, relating, for example, to the undertaking of electrical supply companies, there is power to take over the undertaking subject to the terms contained in the Acts. It is reasonably thought that it might be said that such an undertaking is land, but the terms upon which that undertaking can be acquired are provided for in the Acts which relate to the undertaking, and it is proposed to insert this Clause in order to avoid any confusion, so that it shall not be said that the undertaking is land within the meaning of this Act, so as to be acquired under the terms of this Act and not under the terms of the Act relating to the undertaking.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
These public bodies, which are constituted by Statute, and whose powers are limited by the Sections of the Statute, shall operate within the ambit of their own Acts, and not be affected by the terms of this Act.
§ Question put, and agreed to.