HC Deb 15 April 1937 vol 322 cc1310-1

10.29 p.m.

Mr. Foot

I beg to move, in page 27, line to leave out "six weeks," and to insert "three months."

Part II of this Schedule deals with the provisions as to compulsory purchase orders. The usual procedure in these cases is prescribed and it is further provided that anyone who wants to question the validity of an Order and says that the provisions of the Act have not been properly complied with must within six weeks make an application for the purpose to the Court of Session. This question also was very carefully considered by the Donoughmore Committee and they said that a Clause that was designed to oust the jurisdiction of the courts to inquire into the validity of an order or regulation made by a Department, was never justified and should never be used. They went on to admit that there were certain cases where finality would be desirable, and in those cases, which should be rare, there ought to be a period of challenge of six months, or at the very least three months. Perhaps the Lord Advocate will tell us whether it is the intention of the Government to have the slightest regard to the report of this committee or not. On many occasions they have entirely ignored what is recommended, and this seems to be another of those occasions.

The Lord Advocate

Apart altogether from the Donoughmore Report the simple question raised by this Amendment is whether it is desirable where the compulsory purchase procedure is to be followed in connection with a harbour under this Bill that the proceedings should be held up and nothing done at all for a period of three months, on the off chance that somebody may wish to challenge the validity of the proceeding, or whether it is not quite long enough if a six weeks interval is given. Quite frankly, my view is that six weeks is long enough. To hold the thing up for months is simply a waste of time. I accordingly feel that I cannot accept the Amendment. There have been precedents within recent times, notably in the Town and Country Planning Act and the Air Navigation Act, in which periods not exceeding six weeks have been inserted.

Amendment negatived.