HL Deb 09 July 1924 vol 58 cc388-94

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)


My Lords, at the time of the Second Heading of this Bill, as your Lordships know, I made a certain request, and since then I have been in communication with the Government. Although I cannot say they have done everything that I wanted, they have made most material concessions. By one of the Amendments which is going to be moved by the noble Lord opposite they have taken away one of the objections to the Bill. In those circumstances I should not think it right to proceed in my opposition, although I do not get everything that I wanted. I would like to say that I wish to recall very forcibly to the noble and learned Lord Chancellor's memory the words of the promise he gave as to doing something for the state of the Scottish Records. Those words of promise I confess, as an answer to my speech, were rather gratifying than relevant, because it is certain that what he promised to do could equally have been done without passing this Bill. But the Government have really much bettered the position to the gentleman who is to be the Keeper of the Records, and I therefore hope that tin-promise of the Lord Chancellor will be fulfilled.


With the assent of my right hon, friend the Secretary for Scotland, I gave the noble and learned Lord the promise to which he has referred, and which I can assure him will be carried out.

On Question. Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly:

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to

Clause 5:

Office of Keeper of the. Records.

5.—(1) The person holding the office of Deputy Keeper of the Records at the date of the passing of this Act shall become the officer in charge of the Record Department, and such officer shall hare after that date the designation of Keeper of the Records of Scotland. Section eight of the Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act, 1879, shall be construed as applying to the office of Keeper of the Records of Scotland in the same manner as it has hitherto applied to the office of Deputy Keeper of the Records.

LORD MUIR MACKENZIE moved, at the end of subsection (1), to insert: and the powers and duties vested in the Deputy Clerk Register by virtue of any Act shall, subject as hereinafter in this Act provided, be vested in the Keeper of Die Records, but nothing in this subsection shall he construed as transferring to the said Keeper any power to give directions in regard to the registration of any deed in the registers mentioned in the two immediately succeeding sections of this Act or any power of supervision or control in regard to the keepers or other officers thereof.

The noble Lord said: After the interchange of compliments between my noble friend opposite and the noble and learned Viscount, there really seems nothing for me to do except to move the Amendments which have been practically agreed upon. I should like to take the opportunity of saying how very much obliged the Government are to my noble and learned friend opposite for the manner in which he entered into the discussions and arrived at conclusions which are satisfactory to the Government, and which, I am glad to say, though not entirely acceptable to him, yet are such as he is willing to agree to. I do not see present the noble Duke, the Duke of Buccleuch, but I think the Amendments that are put down are calculated to remove the difficulty which he seemed to feel of supposing that the tendency of the Bill was to remove the centre of gravity from Edinburgh to London. I hope that it is quire clear on the face of the Hill that for the future the business will be carried on as it has been hitherto in Edinburgh. Having said so much generally as to these Amendments, which all stand together, I will move them, of course, separately. I beg to move the first Amendment standing in my name.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 41, at end insert the said words.—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)


I agree that the Amendments to this Bill hang together. This is a rather long addendum to the clause, and I think it has been made necessary by a case which was decided in the Court of Session soon after I left it. In itself, the decision in that case was right, but there were many observations with which I do not concur. I thought it might even have been necessary to have had another addendum. It was never my wish that there should be an appeal from the Keeper of the Sasines to the Keeper of the Records. The proper appeal when a subject feels that he has not been treated fairly is to the Court of Session. I have come to the conclusion, however, that Clause 13 is sufficient, and I acquiesce in the Amendments proposed.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 8 agreed to.

Clause 9:

Secretary for Scotland may make orders relating to Register of Deeds, etc.

9.—(1) It shall be lawful for the Secretary for Scotland, after consultation with the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Advocate and the Lord Justice Clerk, by order to direct that the office of Keeper of the General Register of Sasines, the office of Keeper of the Records, and the office of Keeper of the Register of Deeds, or any two of such offices shall he united to the effect that the offices shall be held and the duties thereof discharged by one and the same person.

LORD DUNEDIN had on the Paper an Amendment, in subsection (1), to leave out after "consultation with" and insert "with the approval of." The noble and learned Lord said: As it stood there was a most cumbrous provision in this clause. It had to do with the amalgamation of two offices, which I think it will be well to amalgamate. But as it stood it provided that the Secretary for Scotland should consult with three people and be bound by the opinion of none of them. I do not think that is a good plan, and therefore my Amendment, which I should like to amend by substituting the word "consent" for "approval," provides that he shall not make this change without the approval of the Lord President of the Court of Sessions.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 25, leave out ("after consultation with") and insert ("with the consent of").—(Lord Dunedin.)


The Government gladly accept the Amendment which they think is an improvement on the Bill.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD DUNEDIN moved, in subsection 1), to leave out "the Lord Advocate and the Lord Justice Clerk." The noble and learned Lord said: This is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 3, lines 26 and 27, leave out ("the Lord Advocate and the Lord Justice Clerk").—(Lord Dunedin.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment to this clause standing in my name is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 3, lines 28 to 30, leave out from ("Sasines") to ("shall") in line 30, and insert ("and the office of Keeper of the Register of Deeds").—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 10 and 11 agreed to.

Clause 12:

Powers of Secretary for Scotland as to Registers, &c.

12. From and after the passing of this Act the Secretary for Scotland shall have and may exercise all the powers and duties in regard to the control of the public registers, records and rolls of Scotland and the keepers and other officers thereof heretofore vested in the Deputy Clerk Register.


I beg formally to move the omission of this clause.

Amendment moved— Page 4, lines 18 to 23, leave out Clause 12.—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

The Schedule:

  1. SCHEDULE. 681 words
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