I beg to move for a copy of the official shorthand writer's notes of the proceedings and evidence at the rehearing of the case of Markey v. Earl of Gosford, before the Irish Land Commission, including the judgments or decisions delivered by the Land Commissioners therein; also a copy of the originating notice, and of the schedule and order fixing the fair rent in the same case. I would venture to point out that there is a great difficulty in making use of the Reports, because they 63 are not necessarily accurate or complete, and it is very necessary and very desirable that the grounds of the court's decision shall be made known to the public, and I venture to draw your Lordships' attention to the case of Markey v. Gosford; and it will not take many minutes to put before you the memorandum which has been prepared by authority. This case was decided on 31st May, 1897, by the Chief Land Commission, on a re-hearing or appeal at the instance of the landlord, partly against the actual rent fixed by the Sub-Commissioners and partly on certain important points having reference tothe principles upon which a fair rent should be fixed for holdings that are subject to the Ulster tenant right custom.This was the general description of the issue, as stated at the opening of Mr. Justice Bewley's judgment. The judgments, or decisions, of the Commissioners, however, show that they chiefly devoted themselves to endeavouring to define the ambiguous words in sub-section 1 of section 8 of the Land Act of 1881—having regard to the interest of the landlord and tenant respectively.Without attempting any detailed or complete reference to their arguments, it may he said that, inter alia, they were unanimous in holding that in fixing fair rent every kind of competitive value must be excluded, while they also decided by a majority that the well-known "occupation interest" is an element in respect of which no reduction of rent should be made. Now, it is remarkable that, having these decisions before them, the Fry Commissioners unanimously decided—in the definition of fair rent on pages 20 and 21 of their Report—that the Land Commission in fixing a fair rent ought to take into account and estimatethe annual sum at which, after all the circumstances of the case, holding, and district have been taken into consideration, the holding in the landlord's hands might reasonably be expected to let from year to year to a solvent and prudent tenant who desired to derive a benefit from the occupation of the tenement and not from its sale,64 and that this sum should be the fair rent, less by the value, if any, of the tenant's improvements. We have, therefore, now two conflicting interpretations of fair rent, and it is known that they are about to lead to further litigation. We have the views of the Fry Commission fully set out in their Report; and the object of the present Motion is to put Parliament and the public in possession of the views upon which the Land Commission held a contrary opinion.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
I am afraid I cannot go fully into all the matters that the noble Lord has referred to, and that I cannot give him the answer that he would consider entirely satisfactory. The Government are satisfied that the evidence is fully and accurately stated in the judgment, so far as it is necessary for the purpose of the decision, and that therefore there is no necessity to furnish the shorthand writers' notes, which, I would point out to the noble Lord, would be quite unprecedented, and there does not appear to be any necessity to lay upon the Table a copy of the Judgment. A full report will be found in the Irish Law Times Reports, volume 31, page 97, and the original Notices, Orders, and Schedules are filed, and copies can be obtained in the ordinary way by any of the parties interested on application to the Land Commission.
I beg to ask Her Majesty's Government whether in carrying out the provisions of section 3 of the Registration (Ireland) Act, 1898, the poor law electoral divisions were altered by the Local Government Board for Ireland with a view to the population of each such division being so nearly as conveniently might be equal?
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
With regard to the question, the alterations made by the Local Government Board for Ireland in poor law electoral divisions, under the Registration (Ireland) Act, 1898, which was passed at the commencement of this Session, were confined to the separation of urban portions of electoral divisions from rural portions, and constituting the former separate electoral divisions., I take it that the noble Lord's Motion 65 raises the question of not including the population in the poor law divisions, but I would point out that by the Local Government Act I do not think that the question of varying populations was taken into account, and therefore there was no provision made for altering the boundaries and for including the population among the poor law electoral divisions. Therefore I am afraid I cannot give the noble Lord the satisfactory answer he requires.