HL Deb 15 June 1865 vol 180 cc251-2

presented a Petition of Etheldreda Browning for the Amendment of the Courts of Justice Building Bill, who owned seventeen houses in New Boswell Court, Lincoln's Inn, immediately contiguous to the site of the new Law Courts. This lady derived her only means of living from the rents of those houses, and she stated that in consequence of the frequent notices which had been served upon her in reference to the proposed scheme for building the new Courts of Justice she had lost the chief portion of her rents since the beginning of the year 1860. Although he (Lord Stratford de Redcliffe) was not exactly aware of what could be done for the lady's relief, he thought her case worthy of some consideration, when the question of compensating the owners of the property taken under the Bill arose.


said, he quite agreed that the case referred to by the noble Lord was a very hard one, and although he had great doubts whether there was any legal mode of compensating the lady, still he was glad the subject had been brought under the notice of their Lordships. In consequence of the various schemes which had been laid before Parliament in reference to the proposed new Courts of Justice, notices were served upon the Petitioner in each consecutive year—in 1860, 1861, 1863, 1864, and 1865—that her property would be required. Those notices were not acted upon; but, as the fact of their having been served was well known, she had lost the chief part of her rents since the year 1860, persons being unwilling to take houses out of which they would be liable to be turned on short notice. He trusted that when the question of compensation arose under the Bill the claims of this lady would receive some consideration.


said, that while regretting the hardship Mrs. Browning had experienced, he could not see how her case differed from those of hundreds of persons who had been subjected to the same inconveniences from the notices that had been served on them by the metropolitan railways of their intention to take their property. Neither did he see from what source the compensation was to be derived.


said, the lady referred to had made frequent applications to him on the subject now before the House, and had had an interview with him to explain her case. He confessed he felt very much for her, but he did not see how she could be compensated under the present Bill for her five years' losses. However, the evil arising from notices of this description had attained such proportions that he thought the subject ought to be dealt with by some distinct legislative enactment.