(1) Where it appears to a person, who is required to give information for the purposes of the Registration Act of the circumstances of a holding relevant to any matter particulars whereof may be registered under that Act, that complete information thereof would include information of no material importance for valuation purposes as to rights annexed to coal or a mine that affect adversely numerous small parcels of land, or would include any other information of no material importance for valuation purposes, he shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of that Act as to the information to be given with respect to that matter if he gives with respect thereto such information as the Commission indicate to be in their opinion of material importance for valuation purposes, notwithstanding that the information does not extend to all the circumstances of the holding relevant to that matter.
(2) The preceding sub-section shall have effect in a case in which a person gives or has given with respect to any such matter as aforesaid such information as the Board of Trade have, before the commencement of this Act, indicated to be in their opinion of material importance.
(3) Registered particulars, or draft particulars settled by the Commission, shall not be open to objection as being incomplete, or
as omitting relevant particulars, by reason of their not recording any circumstances of a holding being circumstances information whereof is of no material importance for valuation purposes.
(4) Regard shall be had to the foregoing provisions of this section in determining whether any costs the payment whereof is claimed under the Registration Act were reasonably incurred.—[Captain Crookshank.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
This proposed new Clause is put forward in connection with the Registration Act passed last summer. The object of that Act was to allow owners of this kind of property to start the preliminary steps of registration, but, as I said at the time, there was no objective stated. Now there is a definite objective under the Bill which we are discussing, and that is that registration is the first step towards valuation, valuation leading eventually to compensation and the property passing. The experience we have had so far is that, from the point of view of valuation, there might be, within a strict interpretation of the Registration Act, a great deal of information which would have to be registered but which would really be unnecessary in order to be able to form a proper valuation. The sort of instance I have in mind is one in which an estate has been cut up into a great number of parcels of land, all of them with the same sort of deeds. It seems hardly necessary that every single document should be registered, because that would entail a great deal of work and expense, if it is clear that the absence of some of those details will not really affect the position from a valuation point of view. In those cases it might be quite enough, when the valuer came to do his work, to take general evidence, and if such cases should arise a person will be deemed to have complied with the provisions of the previous Act by not giving all the information which is there required. If he takes advantage of that he will be indemnified against possible complaint because he has not supplied everything, and therefore has fallen into error. It is a Clause to the advantage of everyone concerned.
§ 4.1 p.m.
§ Sir Stafford Cripps
I rise only to ask the Minister whether he is satisfied that 885 in accordance with the new Clause the Commission will have the whole of the information that is necessary. From the reading of Sub-section (1) it seems possible that a good deal of material information may be missing, and that information, I understand, will be information which will be material to assessing the value of the particular interest by the regional valuation committee. Presumably the Commission will want to have before them the whole of the materials that would be before these regional valuation committees. I am not clear that Sub-section (1) will give that access, through the registration, to the whole of that material. The Sub-section says:complete information thereof would include information of no material importance for valuation purposes as to rights annexed to coal or a mine that affect adversely numerous small parcels of land, or would include any other information of no material importance for valuation purposes, he shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of that Act as to the information to be given with respect to that matter if he gives with respect thereto such information as the Commission indicate to be in their opinion of material importance for valuation purposes, notwithstanding that the information does not extend to all the circumstances of the holding relevant to that matter.If some of these ancillary rights are to be acquired and the Commission are to be able to estimate what the value of those ancillary rights is, they will obviously want to know, whether small or large parcels of land are affected, what their incidence is. I should have thought that, prima facie, they would have wanted the fullest possible information as to the whole of the effect of these rights before they could come to a decision as to whether they would acquire them. We are anxious that there should not be any limitation which would make it impossible for the Commission to have at their disposal the fullest material in order that they can arrive at a judgment as to whether they can exercise their rights. Will the Minister give us an assurance that between now and the next stage he will look into the matter from the point of view of the Commission?
§ Captain Crookshank
I quite appreciate the point of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I am quite satisfied that what he has in mind is covered. No doubt he will realise that the purpose of this Clause is really to avoid the unnecessary duplication of information.
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Pritt
I want to refer to something quite different, and that is to slovenly ways in legislation. There is passed a Statute, the Registration Act. It is then found that there may be circumstances in which it is inconvenient to apply that Act rigidly and completely. The proper thing to do there, as a matter of clean and tidy legislation, is to amend the Act. But the draftsman does not want to do that; he wants to put in another Act a provision that if you do not obey the other Act you shall be deemed to have obeyed the other Act. I am one of those who have to face this sort of thing day by day in the Courts. At least I ask from the Minister a promise that he will not do it again.
§ Captain Crookshank
; I do not know of anything else which we are proposing to unify in this sort of way.
§ Clause added to the Bill.