HC Deb 10 July 1919 vol 117 cc2007-8
51. Major NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether he can explain the Government's delay in bringing before the House of Lords its appeal in the case of the commandeering of De Keyser's Hotel soon after the outbreak of hostilities; pending a decision in this case are owners of houses or property commandeered being paid compensation or rent as an act of grace and not of right; and what is the position of an owner who refuses to accept as equitable the compensation or rent offered him?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. There has been no delay in the lodgment of the petition of appeal in this case, barely three months out of the six allowed for that purpose by the Standing Orders of the House of Lords having as yet expired since the delivering of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. In the meantime those owners of houses or of landed property who are willing to accept compensation paid as of grace are receiving it, and those who are not willing to do so remain in possession of such legal rights, if any, as they may be found to have when the House of Lords has decided which of the two conflicting decisions of the Court of Appeal on the question correctly represents the law.


Is there any impartial body to which the owner of a commandeered house can appeal as against the Department which commandeers the house?


I do not quite know what is meant by appealing against the Department. If the question is one of compensation, as matters stand now the owner may go to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission for compensation or he may take his chance of an action at law.