HC Deb 13 June 1950 vol 476 cc3-4
2. Sir John Mellor

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning why Form L.39, issued by the Central Land Board, contained no notice that claimants would be entitled to recover from the Board the same scale of expenses as for the completion of the optional part of Form S.1; and if he will inform persons, upon whom Form L.39 has been served, of their rights.

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. Dalton)

Because it was not desired to encourage small people to incur expenses which they would not, in the geat majority of cases, be able to recover. I am considering whether it will be useful to issue any further information on the subject.

Sir J. Mellor

I would like a definite assurance on this point. Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that each claimant upon whom Form L.39 has been served should be sent express notice of his right to costs?

Mr. Dalton

I have had a conversation with the hon. Baronet about this matter and I will undertake to consider it. The point, as he knows very well, is that in the great majority of these cases expenses would not be likely to be recoverable because the claimants would not be successful, being within the 10 per cent. tolerance. For that reason I am anxious not to encourage people to engage in appeals if expenses are not recoverable. I will undertake to look into the matter to see whether the suggestion which the hon. Baronet has made can usefully be met.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

In that case, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be reasonable, when sending this form, to issue a covering memorandum explaining to the unfortunate recipient of the form what is at the back of it and its objective, and the rights of the people concerned?

Mr. Dalton

I do not want to criticise any of the departmental arrangements made under the Central Land Board, but they believed that by issuing this form they were assisting people who otherwise might not be aware of the possibility of claiming. In the great majority of cases there is no doubt that claimants would not succeed. I have agreed, in reply to the second part of the hon. Baronet's Question, to look into the matter and see what can be done.

Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the claimants themselves are in a position to estimate whether they are likely to succeed and does he think that this right would be too daring an experiment in freedom?

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise in this connection that the information given to the House on this very subject by his Parliamentary Secretary on 25th May and reported in column 2392 of the OFFICIAL REPORT was, to say the least of it, misleading, and in certain cases untrue?

Mr. Dalton

I do not think that is so.

Mr. Hudson

Well, it is.