HC Deb 15 October 1969 vol 788 cc504-7
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 10, line 19, leave out from beginning to 'and' in line 22.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

We can take at the same time, the following seven Amendments, Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 and Amendment No. 23 in Schedule 1, page 24, column 3, leave out lines 2 to 9 and insert 'Section 10(6)'.

The Solicitor-General

This group of Amendments improves the position of mortgagees who are liable to suffer loss as a result of a closure of a Yorkshire deeds registry under Part II of the Bill. When a registry is closed, puisne mortgages will need to be reregistered as land charges if their priority is to be preserved; and the Bill provides that any mortgagee who re-registers within two years of the first closure of a registry but nevertheless suffers some loss is to be compensated under Clause 20.

The Amendment further improves the position of mortgages, first, by validating certain land charges registrations which have previously been ineffective; secondly, by allowing mortgages registered only in the deeds registers to be re-registered as land charges from commencement of the Bill and not only from the date on which the registry begins to close; and, thirdly, by adjusting the indemnity provisions of Clause 20 so as to cover any losses resulting from these new provisions. The first change is effected by Amendment No. 8, the second by Amendments Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 23, and the third by Amendments Nos. 9 to 12.

Amendment No. 8 validates registrations of puisne mortgages in the Land Charges Register which had previously been invalid because they were made in the wrong sequence. By a curiosity of the law, if a puisne mortgage is once registered in a deeds register it cannot thereafter be validly re-registered as a land charge. Nevertheless, such re-registrations are not uncommon. On commencement of the Bill, these ineffective registrations will become valid so that the mortgages need not be re-registered as land charges.

8.15 p.m.

Amendments Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 23 provide that puisne mortgages registered in the deeds registers can be re-registered as land charges from the commencement of the Bill. Clause 16(1) (b) makes puisne mortgages registered in the deeds registers re-registrable as land charges on and after the date on which the deeds registry begins to close under the provisions of Clause 15. There is no reason to defer the right to re-register until that date, and accordingly the first two Amendments provide that re-registration can take place from the commencement of the Bill. The third and fourth Amendments are purely consequential.

Amendments Nos. 9 to 12 make Amendments to Clause 20 which are consequential on the Amendments to Clause 16. The validation of ineffective land charge registrations and the right to reregister from the commencement of the Bill rather than from the date of closure of a deeds registry will be of general benefit to mortgagees, but may also give rise to losses which would not occur under the Bill in its present form.

For example, loss could conceivably occur where a mortgage, ineffectively registered as a land charge before the commencement of the Bill, obtains by validation of that registration a priority over a prior mortgage which was registered in the deeds register alone and must as a result of the Bill be re-registered as a land charge. The first Amendment, No. 9, ensures that losses of this kind qualify for indemnity under the provisions of Clause 20.

Mr. Graham Page

It is perfectly clear what is to happen to puisne mortgages in future. After the Bill takes effect, one will still be able to register a puisne mortgage in the Yorkshire deeds registry while it exists, but so that one does not forget, when the registry dies, to reregister in the names registry—the registry which we know as Kidbrooke—one will register in both in future. We register at the Yorkshire deeds registry and we register as a land charge. This is simplifying conveyancing, of course! This is one of the Government's great efforts to simplify the transfer of property. However, we hope that it will simplify itself eventually when the Yorkshire deeds registry comes to an end.

I am worried about registrations of the past. Under Clause 16(2) all the registers of the Yorkshire deeds registry will be carted up to the Land Charges Registry and deposited there. I should have thought from that that those who had the benefit of the land charge, such as a puisne mortgage, would not have had to do anything more. The register will have gone to the Land Charges Registry. If anyone searches there, will not the officials look at the old Yorkshire deeds registry as well as at the ordinary registers? Otherwise, what is the purpose of Clause 16(2)?

Apparently, from what the Solicitor General says, it does not have any effect on puisne mortgages because he said that those which were entered into in the past must be re-registered by those who have the benefit of them now. I suppose that there is no automatic registration of existing puisne mortgages and that those who have the benefit of them must, to keep that benefit, re-register when the Yorkshire deeds registry is abolished.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: No. 6, in page 11, line 8, at end insert: (4A) A puisne mortgage registered in the deeds register maintained at a Yorkshire deeds registry shall be registrable under the Land Charges Act 1925 to the same extent as a puisne mortgage not registered in any local deeds register, and accordingly in section 10(1) of that Act, in Class C(i), the words 'and (where the whole of the land affected is within the jurisdiction of a local deeds registry) not being registered in the local deeds register' are hereby repealed.

No. 7, in page 11, line 12, leave out '(1)(b)' and insert '(4A)'.

No. 8, in page 11, line 12, at end insert: (6) Where before the commencement of this Act a person has purported to register under the Land Charges Act 1925 a mortgage which was incapable of such registration because already registered in the deeds register maintained at a Yorkshire deeds registry, the purported registration shall be treated as valid notwithstanding the prior registration in the deeds register.—[The Solicitor-General.]

Forward to