§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL of D0N0UGHMORE in the Chair.]
THE LORD CHAIRMAN
The first clause to which notice of amendment has been given is Clause 138, and I suggest that it would be for your Lordships' convenience if we took the first 137 clauses en bloc. I propose to do that unless any one of your Lordships desires to discuss a particular clause.
§ Clauses 1 to 137 agreed to.
§ Clause 138:
§ Provisions where manorial incidents are extinguished on expiration of ten years after the commencement of the Act.
§ 138. Where in respect of any enfranchised land or in respect of any other land liable to any heriot, quit rent, chief rent, free rent, or other manorial incident, the manorial incidents affecting the land are by virtue of this Act extinguished upon the expiration of ten years from the commencement of this Act by reason of no compensation agreement having been made or notice given to ascertain the compensation before the expiration of that period, the following provisions shall have effect:—
- (a) At any time after the expiration of the said ten years and before the expiration of fifteen years from the commencement of this Act the lord or the tenant may apply to the Minister to determine the amount of compensation to be paid by the tenant to the lord for the extinguishment of the said manorial incidents and upon such application being made the Minister shall proceed to determine and award the amount of the compensation in accordance with the Copy-hold Act, 1894, as modified and applied by this
917 part of this Act in like manner as if the lord and the tenant had in accordance with Part I. of that Act agreed in writing that the amout of compensation should be determined by a single valuer appointed by the Minister: Provided that in assessing the compensation no amount shall be allowed in respect of any rent, frine, relief, heriot or fee, which apart from this Part of this Act would have accrued due and become payable, between the expiration of the said period the expiration of the said period of ten years and the date of the application:
- (b) The annual terminable rentcharge (if any) payable as compensation shall commence from the date of the application (to be mentioned in the award), and the lord shall not be entitled to any interest in respect of the period between the date of the expiration of the said period of ten years and the date of the application:
- (c) If no such application has been made before the expiration of the said period of fifteen years, no compensation shall be payable in respect of the extinguishment of manorial incidents:
- (d) The costs and expenses of determining the compensation in any case to which this section applies shall, notwithstanding anything contained in this Part of this Act, and in default of agreement, be borne by the lord and the tenant or either of them or by both in such proportions as the Minister may determine to be just according, as nearly as may be, to the advantages derived from the extinguishment by the lord and tenant respectively or by either of them.
§ LORD DYNEVOR moved, in paragraph (d), to omit all words after "be borne by the" and to insert: "tenant unless the Minister, on the application of the tenant and after consideration of any representations made to him by the lord or tenant, shall determine that, having regard to unreasonable conduct on the part of the lord or his unreasonable refusal of any proposal made by the tenant or other special considerations, part of such costs or expenses should be borne by the lord and in any such case the Minister shall, in determining the part to be borne by the lord, have regard to the advantages derived from the extinguishment by the lord and tenant respectively."
§ The noble Lord said: On the Second Reading of this Bill last Tuesday I alluded, on behalf of the Land Union, to Clause 138, paragraph (d), and I expressed regret that my noble and learned friend in charge of the Bill had not been able to see his way to 918 insert my Amendment in the Bill when he was having it reprinted and reintroduced. I would remind your Lordships that it was on the Report Stage last year that my noble and learned friend inserted the words which appear in this clause in the Bill. He intimated that there was liberty to move a further Amendment in another place, and added that in his view the tenant generally gained by the enfranchisement of a copyhold. With that in my mind I now move the Amendment that stands in my name. I want at once to make it clear to your Lordships that my Amendment refers only to the cost of enfranchisement when dealt with under Clause 138, paragraph (d), and to no other part of the Bill —that is to say, only after the expiration of the first period of ten years. What happens during the first ten years is dealt with in other clauses.
§ Under Clause 126 of the Bill all copyholds automatically become freehold. Compensation is provided during the period: of ten years from the commencement of the Act, firstly, by agreement between the parties; secondly, by notice served by the lord on the tenant to have the compensation ascertained; and thirdly, by notice served by the tenant on the lord to the same effect. The person giving the notice pays the costs unless the conduct, of the other party has been unreasonable. Regarding the costs during the next five years following the expiration of ten years from the commencement of the Act, Clause 138, paragraph (d), says that such costs and expenses shall be borne by the lord and the tenant or either of them or by both irk such proportions as the Minister may determine to be just according, as nearly as may be, to the advantages derived from the extinguishment by the lord and tenant respectively or by either of them. I submit that as in the great majority of cases the tenant alone derives any benefit from the extinguishment of the old copyhold fines and other dues, the tenant should bear the whole of the cost as a mortgagor does in redeeming a mortgage, unless there are special or exceptional conditions, or the lord has acted in an unreasonable manner.
§ During the ten years it would not be worth the lord's while to move and pay costs on some trivial sum in ordinary circumstances, but if there are some special benefits to cause him to move, then under the Bill he has to pay the costs. But 919 during the next five years the lord must give notice, otherwise he would get no compensation because if nobody gives notice no compensation is paid, and the fines, dues, etc., come to an end after the first ten years. I maintain, therefore, that the tenant ought to pay the costs. I beg to move.
Clause 138, page 127, line 16, leave out from the first ("the") to the end of the clause and insert the said words.—(Lord Dynevor.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT BIRKENHEAD)
The industry of the noble Lord and his good will towards this Bill were of great assistance to me at more than one stage in the last session of Parliament, and I wish to make it plain at once that I do not quarrel with the merits of the Amendment which he has recommended to your Lordships to-day, but I rise for the purpose of making an appeal to him, to which I hope he will not be unwilling to respond. This is a very bulky Bill, and it is a very expensive Bill to amend. It is almost certain that it must be amended in another place, and, therefore, it will have to be reprinted. There are two or three other Amendments to which my attention has been directed only at a late stage, and they undoubtedly will form the subject of discussion, and may be made the occasion of actual change in the wording of the Bill.
I would, therefore, ask my noble friend whether he would be willing to assent to this course. A similar Amendment to his should be put down by his friends in another place. Mr. Pretyman holds, of course, the same view as himself in this matter, and he is entitled to speak, and is accustomed to speak with great authority, in another place on matters affecting land. I would suggest that he should put down this Amendment there, and I will at least undertake this. The Bill in another place will be in the hands of one of the law officers, and I will discuss the matter with him, and tell him that it is my wish that this Amendment should be sympathetically considered. I have very little doubt that it will be so considered. I hope my noble friend will be willing, in these circumstances, to avoid the expense and delay of reprinting the Bill, and to assent to that proposal.
§ LORD DYNEVOR
My noble and learned friend has put me in a little difficulty. 920 He says this Amendment, if it were moved in another place, would be sympathetically considered by whoever is in charge of the Bill. I hope he will go a little further, and say that considerable assistance will be given to an Amendment of this kind.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I meant that. I did not wish to go quite the length of saying that I would undertake that it should be accepted, because I think that would be a little dictatorial in dealing with another deliberative Assembly where arguments may be put forward, and it would look a little disrespectful, without the Government hearing the arguments, to say now that the Amendment will be accepted. I will say, however, that I will give the noble Lord every encouragement.
§ LORD DYNEVOR
In these circumstances I will do what my noble and learned friend asks. The point that he has made as to the cost and delay of reprinting the Bill appeals to me very strongly, and I desire, therefore, to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 138 agreed to.
§ Clauses 139 to 189 agreed to.
§ Schedules agreed to.
§ Bill reported without amendment.