§ LORD CRANWORTH
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, that the object of the Bill was to amend an Act which had been passed some six or seven years ago — the 19th and 20th of the Queen, c. 120—the object of which was to facilitate leases and sales of settled estates. It often happened that marriage and other settlements contained no power to the trustees to grant leases for building and other purposes, and it became necessary to apply to Parliament for a Private Act to enable them to do so; and the object of the statute was to enable trustees to grant such leases by a summary application to the Court of Chancery. Owing, perhaps, to some obscurity in the wording of the Act, the Courts of Chaneery had put an interpretation upon it which prevented the intention of the Act from being fully carried out. The object of the present measure was to render it unnecessary to comply with certain conditions which 535 the Court of Chancery had held to be required by the Act, unless the Court should see some special reason why the compliance with such conditions was necessary or expedient.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a" —(Lord Cranworth.)
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
said, he had been a considerable sufferer from the interpretation put upon the 19 & 20 Vict. He happened to own a considerable tract of land which had suddenly become valuable, owing to its proximity to a fashionable watering-place. Owing to the Act to which the noble and learned Lord had alluded, he found that every lease that he had to grant he had to apply for through his solicitor to the Court of Chancery. This was a process involving much expense and great delay; but it had other ill effects. A gentleman living very near to him was in a much better position. There were numerous applications for the land for building purposes. The consequence was, that builders when applying to him (the Earl of Malmesbury), found that they would have to wait some weeks before the lease could be made out. They would immediately say they could not wait so long. His neighbour was in the condition to give a lease within a few days, and of course the builders and contractors went to him. In this manner, the value of his property was sometimes greatly diminished.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that the case of the noble Earl was by no means singular. He believed there was a great deal of property in the country so situated, particularly in the neighbourhood of large manufacturing towns. Several cases had come within his own experience. The Act did not, it would appear, state explicitly the intention which the noble and learned Lord who introduced it had in view. As to the delay, there was considerable delay involved in the fact that a solicitor had to be employed for such a purpose as an application to the Court of Chancery, more particularly solicitors who lived in remote parts of the kingdom, who had, of course, to conform to the rules of the Court. He approved of the present measure, and considered that it would be most beneficial in its operation.
§ Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock, till to-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.