HL Deb 10 August 1896 vol 44 cc340-5

(1.) Where an absolute order for the sale of an estate, comprising holdings to which this section applies, has been made under the Landed Estates Court (Ireland) Act, 1858, and either a receiver has been appointed over the estate or the estate is so circumstanced that it would independently of this Act he sold without the consent of the owner as to price, the following provisions shall have effect:—

  1. (a.) The Land Commission shall, at the request of the Land Judge, cause the estate to he inspected, and a report to he made by two Commissioners respecting the estate, and the circumstances thereof, and the price at, and the conditions under which, the sale of the holdings to the tenants under the Land Purchase Acts can properly be made.
  2. (b.) The Land Judge, after giving all parties, including the tenants, an opportunity of being heard, and considering the report and any offers that may be made for the purchase of the estate or any part thereof, and any other matters that may be brought before him, and the general circumstances of the estate, shall make to the person appearing to be in occupation as tenant of each holding on the estate, an offer to sell to him the fee simple of the holding, and the arrears of rent then due from him in respect thereof, at such price, and subject to such conditions, whether as to the payment of part of the price in cash, or as to the offer to one tenant being conditional on the acceptance by other tenants of the offers made to them within a limited time, or otherwise, as the Land Judge may consider reasonable and just having regard to the interest of all persons interested in the estate.
  3. (c.) The offer shall be communicated in such manner as the Land Commission think fit to the person appearing to be in occupation as tenant, and if it is accepted, then, on fulfilment of the conditions, the said person shall be deemed to have agreed to purchase the holding within the meaning of the Land Purchase Acts, and the sale shall be completed accordingly.
  4. (d.) If it appears to the Land Judge that the tenants of holdings on the estate to the extent of not less than three-fourths in number and value according to the rateable value under the Irish Valuation Acts, have accepted the offers under this section, he may, if having regard to the circumstances of the case he thinks it expedient, order that the remaining tenants or any of them shall be deemed to have accepted the offers made to them, and this section and the Land Purchase Acts shall apply accordingly; provided that such order shall not apply to any tenant if the purchase-money of his holding would exceed the limitation on the amount of the advance imposed by Section two of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1888, and the holding of such tenant shall not be taken into consideration in estimating the three-fourths above mentioned.
  5. (e.) Subject to the prescribed rules any person aggrieved by any Order of the Land 342 Judge made under this section may apply to the Court of Appeal to re-bear the matter, and the matter shall be reheard accordingly.
  6. (f.) Where a receiver has been appointed over part of an estate this section shall apply to that part in like manner as if it were an estate.
  7. (g.) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply only to holdings which are agricultural or pastoral, or partly agricultural and partly pastoral.

(2.) Any person in occupation of and paying rent for a parcel of land (including the owner of an estate in occupation of a mansion-house or demesne forming part of the estate) held under a letting by the Land Judge or Receiver Judge may agree to purchase such parcel of land, and the same shall be deemed a holding and such person a tenant, and the Land Judge or Receiver Judge, as the case may be, a landlord within the meaning of the Land Purchase Acts.

(3.) At any time after an absolute Order for the sale of an estate or part of an estate has been made in pursuance of the Landed Estates Court (Ireland) Act, 1858, the foregoing provisions of this section so far as they are applicable may upon the application of the owner be applied to such estate, although a receiver has not been appointed over the estate, and the estate is not so circumstanced that it would, independently of this Act, be sold without the consent of the owner as to price; provided that no advance shall be made to the owner to purchase any mansion-house or demesne forming part of the estate.

(4.) Rules under Part two of this Act may be made for carrying into effect this section.


moved, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "either" ("either a receiver"); and, further, to leave out the word "or" ("over the estate or"), and to insert instead thereof the word "and." The noble Lord said the object of the Amendment was to confine the Order for the sales mentioned in the clause to oases in which the estate was insolvent. There were many estates which were perfectly solvent, and if the clause remained as it was the Order must stand to have them sold. By making the alterations he suggested, the Court would be prevented from considering itself justified in selling up an estate which might in itself be perfectly solvent, because the clause provided that on every estate where a receiver had been appointed the Court must sell. Receivers were appointed in many cases where the mortgage interest was in arrear, or the case might be in lunacy.


said there was no ground for the apprehension expressed by the Mover of the Amendment. The whole section was covered by the words in the first line, "where an absolute Order for the sale of the estate has been made." In the case of an estate owned by a minor or lunatic that condition would not be fulfilled, and, moreover, he understood that in the case of a minor it would be in the custody of the Lord Chancellor, who would take care no improper sale of the estate took place. No doubt it was extremely difficult to distinguish between an estate which could be described as a solvent, and one which could be described as an insolvent estate. The fact of the estate being in the charge of a receiver was one of the most satisfactory tests upon which they could depend, although it was not the only test. It was not desirable to make the alteration suggested.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved, in paragraph (b), Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "shall," ("shall make to the person") and to insert instead thereof the words "may if he think fit." He said the effect of this would be to give the Land Judge discretion whether he would make over the estate to the tenant.


said the alteration would change the drift of the clause. As he understood, the Judge was vested with the fullest discretion with regard to the conditions upon which the sale might be allowed to proceed. But when once he was satisfied that the conditions were just and reasonable, it was intended that he should make an offer to the tenants. If the Amendment were adopted, the option given would be of an entirely different kind. He might be able to say that certain terms and conditions were fair and reasonable, and at the same time it might be open to him to deny to the tenants an opportunity of buying their farms.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved, in paragraph (b), Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "and" ("and the arrears of rent then due,") and to insert instead thereof the words "discharged from."

Amendment agreed to.


moved the omission of paragraph (d). He remarked that Irish landlords felt strongly that if the clause stood as it did it would be the first move towards compulsory purchase, because it provided that where sale was to be carried out it could be done compulsorily if three-fourths of the tenants agreed. His proposal was to leave that provision out, because they had a strong feeling that if the thin end of the wedge of compulsion was allowed to come in in this Act it would be used against them, and practically before long compulsory sale might be the result.


said the Government regarded this as a very important provision, and he thought the noble Lord's fear that it might contain what he called the "thin edge of the wedge of compulsion" was without sufficient foundation. The compulsion the noble Lord was apprehensive of was compulsion directed against the landlords, and used to compel them to part with their estates. The compulsion which this clause contemplated was a certain amount of compulsion, not on the landlords, but on a minority of the tenants in the interests of the majority. There might be a proposal for the sale of an estate upon equitable terms, approved by the Land Commission and the Land Judge, and greatly desired by the main body of the tenants. In a case of that kind would it be desirable that the whole transaction should be brought to an end because a minority of the tenants hung back and were averse to acquiring their farms? The adoption of the proposal would go very far towards jeopardising the success of the clause.


said that on Friday night he moved the rejection of the clause, and stated fully his objection to the principle of compulsion, the germs of which appeared to lie in the sub-section, but it appeared to be thought that what he regarded as a dangerous experiment should be carried out. As he did not see how it could be, successfully, without this sub-section, he appealed to his noble Friend whether it was worth while to press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 46,—