HL Deb 05 July 1932 vol 85 cc571-9

Provisions as to the Validity and Date of Operation of Compulsory Purchase Orders.

4. Except by leave of the Court of Appeal no appeal shall be to the House of Lords from a decision of the Court of Appeal under this Schedule.


My Lords, the Amendment standing in my name on this Schedule is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 67, line 24, leave out ("an") and insert ("any").—(Viscount Gage.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM moved to leave out paragraph 5 of Part II. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name. Paragraph 5 says: Except by leave of the Court of Appeal no appeal shall lie to the House of Lords from a decision of the Court of Appeal under this Part of this Schedule. I do not see why your Lordships who are the highest Court in the Realm should not have an appeal allowed to it. This Bill is going to cause a considerable amount of change in the holding of property and in town planning, and I think it is necessary that your Lordships, or rather the Court of your Lordships' House, should have the opportunity of considering appeals from the lower Courts. I take some interest in observing what takes place in His Majesty's Courts of Law, and though I do not say that this is invariable I find it often happens that in the High Court a decision is given, the Court of Appeal alters it, and your Lordships' House alters the decision of the Court of Appeal. If you do not accept my Amendment you are going to say to the Court of Appeal, whose decisions are often altered by your Lordships' House: "You are not to allow an appeal to the highest Court of the Realm unless you wish it yourself." That seems absurd. I feel almost certain that the Government will accept my Amendment. This provision, so far as I know, is quite unusual, and if it is necessary to have an appeal from the Court of Appeal it should certainly lie to your Lordships' House.

Amendment moved— Page 69, line 28, leave out paragraph 5.—(Lord Banbury of Southam.)


My Lords, I also have this Amendment on the Paper, but I put it there for a different reason. If you turn to page 70, lines 36, 37, and 38, you will see exactly the same words covering the whole of the section. Therefore the paragraph under discussion is redundant.


My Lords, [...]m sorry to disappoint the noble Lord, Lord Banbury of Southam, but I think then he has heard the explanation he will desire to withdraw his Amendment with a two-fold object. One of those objects is, I know, extremely dear to his heart. I suggest that the Amendment should be withdrawn, first, in the interests of economy and, next, in the interest of the private litigant. The paragraph which he proposes to omit provides that without the consent of the Court of Appeal there is to be no appeal to the House of Lords from decisions to which Part II of the Schedule relates. Your Lordships all know that we are endeavouring to get some reform in the law of England and especially to get final decisions quickly and without expense. As Lord Chancellor a very large number of communications reach me and I should think that 99 out of a 100, certainly nine out of ten, complain of the mutiplicity of appeals, and especially in those cases where a private litigant is proceeding against some Government Department as would be the case here. I beg Lord Banbury of Southam to consider the interests of the private litigant who is being—I do not like to say dragged from Court to Court, but being taken from Court to Court by a Government Department.

May I say one word on the procedure? This is no new paragraph. It follows the line adopted by Parliament in similar Schedules in the Housing Act, 1930, and the Public Works Facilities Act, 1930. It saves expense to litigants, but at the same time it enables cases involving issues of special importance to be taken to the House of Lords. But I particularly recommend it bearing in mind what people say with regard to the multiplicity of appeals. This paragraph is particularly appropriate to the kind of litigation which will take place between an individual landowner and a planning authority who will frequently be a powerful local authority with more or less unlimited rate resources at its back. The fear of being taken to the House of Lords frequently acts as a deterent against embarking on litigation no less with local authorities than with the Crown. This is really a great reform of the law. It is in the interests of the private litigant; it does not do away with the right of appeal, as the Court of Appeal can give leave to appeal; and it is not, as Viscount Bertie of Thame suggests, redundant. I beg your Lordships to allow this small endeavour to prevent expense to be made in the law. The Government will certainly oppose the Amendment and I can hardly think that the noble Lord means it.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the Lord Chancellor for his kindness in making a very clear statement. He says I have been in favour of economy. It is true I have been, but nobody has paid any attention, and I might just as well not have been for all the attention that has been paid to me. The Lord Chancellor says that two Acts passed in 1930 have the same effect. That does not appeal to me, because in 1930, according to my view, we had about the worst Government we have ever had, and it did about the worst things that have ever been done. Therefore an argument based on what took place in 1930 does not very much appeal to me. What does appeal to me is this, that I think we are going to put a little brake upon the power of the Minister. If I understand the Lord Chancellor aright, he says that the Minister, or a local authority, with command of the rates, could appeal against an unfortunate person like myself who has no money and cannot afford to go to the expense of an appeal. I am afraid that is the case not only with Governments from the other side of the House but this Government too. They sometimes do appeal to the House of Lords on points which are absurd, in the hope that the unfortunate individual will be afraid to defend the appeal. In the circumstances I do not press my Amendment.


My Lords, I understand that the noble Lord proposes to withdraw his Amendment, and I am entirely in favour of that. I rose only to refer to an observation made by Lord Bertie of Thame, who drew attention to the fact that there is another Part of the Schedule, and that paragraph 4 of Part III says that no appeal shall lie "under this Schedule." That refers apparently to the whole Schedule, whereas this paragraph 5 refers only to "this Part of this Schedule."


I think the noble Marquess is quite right, and I am perfectly prepared to leave out the words in paragraph 5 "under this Part of this Schedule."


If I might suggest it, it would appear to me that that would be going a little too far.


I think on reflection that it does perhaps go a little too far, and if the Amendment is negatived I will move to insert, in Part III, paragraph 4, the words "this Part of."

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 38, after ("under") insert ("this Part of").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Second Schedule [Matters to be dealt with by schemes]:

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved to insert: 4. The reservation of sites for places of religious worship or for residence houses or burial places in connection therewith and preservation of sites held for any of those purposes. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I have been asked to move this Amendment on behalf of Earl Grey. It was moved by him in Committee and withdrawn, on the understanding that the Government would consider the matter and be prepared to deal with it at this stage. The object of the Amendment is twofold. First, it is to secure that in all schemes involving housing development on a large scale opportunities shall be given to the representatives of all denominations to secure suitable sites for building places of worship; and, secondly, to ensure that where the authorities of these denominations, by foresight, have secured such sites beforehand, they shall not be lost to those denominations by reason of a town-planning scheme being produced.

Amendment moved— Page 71, line 6, at end, insert the said new paragraph.—(Viscount Bertie of Thame.)


My Lords, before my noble friend replies, I would venture to recall to his mind what passed in Committee the other night. It was rather late, but still I have a clear recollection of what passed. The real point is this, that unless it is quite clearly recognised by the local authority that this provision for places of worship really essential in any building developments in this country, a great wrong w[...] be done to a great number of His Majesty's subjects. My noble friend will remember that it is not new that in our legislation special recognition is given to places of worship, and they are treated as a particular case which has to have special regard paid to it. There is an Act called the Places of Worship Sites Act, under which places of worship get special provileges for securing sites, and rating relief is also granted to them as such, because they belong to what in this country is deemed to be essential for the people of the country.

In this particular case we are considering what particular directions schemes may provide for, and Lord Grey suggests that places of worship ought to be included in the list. It may be said, of course, that the matter is dealt with generally in the Second Schedule, but that is unfortunately not the case, because you will see that in paragraph 4 special provision is made for aerodromes. If you are going to have special provision for aerodromes I think places of worship stand in quite as good a position, and indeed in a far better position. I hope your Lordships will realise that as the Bill is framed this is not a coercive provision. It does not follow because these words are inserted in the Bill that in every case the local authority will be bound to make provision for places of worship, because under Clause 11 it is only what they deem to be expedient that is to be included. Therefore, it is permissive in the accurate sense of the word.

At the same time the fact that this Amendment appears on the face of the Bill, as a deliberate provision of Parliament, is of the greatest importance from the point of view of places of worship, because then a local authority, when approaching the subject of a scheme, will see that this is a matter which is not to be lightly passed by or ignored but to which Parliament has specifically directed their attention. They may for good cause think it inexpedient to make provision in a particular case, but the matter will never be ignored. It is with a view to that situation that my noble friend Lord Grey, who unfortunately cannot be in his place this afternoon, put down the Amendment. I hope that my noble friend on consideration will see his way to accept it.


My Lords, we have the greatest sympathy with this Amendment and we think that words which carry out the intention of the Amendment ought to be inserted and I am perfectly ready to insert them. The noble Marquess on the last occasion was good enough to refer us to the Places of Worship Sites Act, 1873, and so we looked into that and adopted the words of the Act of Parliament to which he referred. He is quite right in saying that the Second Schedule contains matters to be dealt with by schemes and we are of opinion that this is one of the matters which ought to be included. We do not think it is possible to accept the last few words of the Amendment: and preservation of sites held for any of those purposes. I have the words here taken from the Places of Worship Sites Acts, 1873, and I shall read them to the House: The reservation of sites for places of religious worship or for houses of officiating ministers or burial places in connection therewith. Those words will carry out exactly what the noble Lord wants. It is impossible to put in the last words of his Amendment, which are really not wanted, and, if he will move his Amendment in that form, I shall have the greatest possible pleasure in accepting it.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble and learned Lord for his offer and have pleasure in moving the Amendment in that form.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment moved—

Page 71, line 6, at end insert ("4. The reservation of sites for places of religious worship or for houses of officiating ministers or burial places in connection therewith.")—(Viscount Bertie of Thame.)


My Lords, this Amendment has only appeared on the Paper this afternoon and seems to deal with a complicated matter off-hand. It creates and acknowledges a claim on the part of any religions denomination in any scheme, even in a regional planning scheme, in any part of the country, whether urban or rural, to a site for a burial place, a parsonage or ministerial residence. That is a right which the existing Statutes do not confer. These are not mentioned in the Schedule but neither are schools nor hospitals. You cannot set out in the Schedule the individual types of buildings for which these schemes ought to make provision. Here alone we lay down the right of any denomination to exercise its claim to three sites, one for the church, one for the burial ground, and one for the vicarage house. It is very objectionable that religious bodies should have a right in these schemes to claim a site for a burial ground. We do not want burial grounds scattered all over Great Britain. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has said that aerodromes are included, but aerodromes are specific things and are mentioned but churches are not. It is very obvious that you can easily find a site for a church or a vicarage. It is not easy, on the other hand, to find a site for an aerodrome which occupies one or two hundred acres.


Or for a burial ground.


A burial ground can be put on a hillside but not an aerodrome. An aerodrome has a special geographical and stratigraphical connotation which these places have not. I thought it was very objectionable in the legislation we are passing about cinemas to put upon local authorities the duty of deciding whether a cinema should be opened on Sundays or not. Here you place upon a local authority the duty of accepting or refusing or fighting the scheme of any denomination which may apply for a burial ground or vicarage or place of worship. I am sorry that so controversial a matter should be inserted in this town-planning scheme, which I hoped was outside the area of controversy. Another point that has just struck me is that there should be a time limit. It is not right to give these people the right of sterilising ground for the purpose of these sites and yet not insist that, if they do not occupy the ground, they must surrender it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, the next Amendment is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 71, line 25, leave out ("money or property") and insert("property whether real or personal").—(Viscount Bertie of Theme.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Third Schedule:


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