HL Deb 21 July 1856 vol 143 cc1064-5

said, he had a question to put to his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack in reference to the registration of title deeds. Two or three years ago a Bill was introduced by his noble and learned Friend for the registration of title deeds. It was referred to a Select Committee, and afterwards came down to their Lordships' House, where it was passed by a large majority, and then sent down to the other House. What subsequently became of it he did not know, except that it had not passed into law. It appeared, however, that a Commission had been subsequently appointed to inquire into the subject; and the questions he wished to ask his noble and learned Friend were—first, whether that Commission had made a Report?—secondly, if not, what was the reason of the delay?—and, thirdly, whether there was any probability of a Report being made? He could not sit down without expressing in the strongest terms his regret, that various important measures which had been introduced into the other House of Parliament, and various other important measures which had been sent down from their Lordships House, had, during the present Session, been either lost or abandoned. He never recollected, in any Session, so wholesale a destruction of measures.


said, the answer to the first question was, that the Commission had not made a Report. That Commission was appointed under the following circumstances. The Registration of Titles Bill passed that House with very general, though not universal, concurrence, but it did not get a very favourable reception in the other House; it was referred to a Select Committee, who reported against it, but thought that a different plan for the registration of titles would be expedient, and recommended that a Royal Commission should be appointed to consider the whole subject. The consequence was, that in the following year—1854—a Commission was appointed to look into the subject; as he had already stated, they had not yet made their Report. With regard to the probability of their reporting, he might state that he had communicated privately with the Solicitor General and others who were on the Commission, and they assured him that the Commission was looking very attentively into the subject; but that they found, as he confessed he had anticipated, a great deal more difficulty in devising some tangible plan than they at first imagined. He believed, however, that they would make a Report, and he understood also that they had embodied the plans which they recommended in the shape of a Bill, which would be laid on the table of the House. He had himself prepared the heads of a Bill for a very modified registration, but he was stopped at an early period of the Session from introducing it, by the intimation that the Report of the Commission suggesting a more extended scheme would shortly be laid before Parliament; and, unless he got that Report during the recess, he should unquestionably introduce the smaller measure. With regard to the remark of the noble and learned Lord respecting the withdrawal of Bills, he shared in the regret he had expressed as to the abandonment of several important measures; but, at the same time, he was prepared to show that a considerable number of very useful ones had been passed in the course of the Session.

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