§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 51. (Owner may obtain a declaration of indefeasible title from Court), &c.
§ MR. DOBBS
said, he would move the 372 omission of this clause as he thought, that it would enable persons to commit frauds by going to the Court to obtain a declaration of title. At the same time he wished to give notice of his intention, if the clause were rejected, to move the substitution of another clause which would enable a man bonâ fide desiring to mortgage his property to obtain a declaration of title for the satisfaction of the mortgagee.
§ MR. GROGAN
said, that as an Irish proprietor and not as a lawyer, he hoped the Committee would not agree to the Motion of his hon. Friend. In fact, he considered that this was one of the most important clauses in the Bill—its object being to place an unencumbered property on an equal footing with a property that was encumbered. Moreover, he believed that the apprehensions which his hon. Friend had expressed with respect to the commission of frauds through the medium of this clause were entirely groundless.
observed, that without this clause the Bill would be not only defective but positively unjust.
§ MR. MALINS
said, that the principle embodied in the clause was quite a novel one. They had already affirmed the principle, that unencumbered as well as encumbered estates might be brought within the operation of the new court for the purposes of sale; but this clause went much further. It proposed to confer upon any owner of an unencumbered estate, not contemplating a sale, the power of obtaining a judicial declaration, which would enable him at any future time, in ease he should be about to sell his estate, to show a conclusive title. This alteration would affect the title of every man in the kingdom to his property, for the present Bill was, they were told, the forerunner of a similar measure for England. He would entreat the Committee to pause before they agreed to it, for he could assure them that a Parliamentary title was not without its dangers. Where a sale was contemplated there was publicity, and the real owner of a property was advertised of the intention of the wrongful possessor to sell it; but where that possessor merely went before the Court to obtain a Parliamentary title, which with all its power the same Court could not recall, a wrong was done to the party justly entitled to the estate.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, there were four reasons conclusive in favour of the clause. The first was that where an encumbered estate was sold a Parliamentary title was given with it, and unless 373 they went further and gave unencumbered owners in fee the same class of title, they would themselves obtain it by means of fictitious sales. The second reason was that a man might have a portion of ground which he might wish to sell to different parties. He might require it for building purposes. A Parliamentary title to the whole would enable him to sell each portion by itself; whereas otherwise he would have to go through a formal proof of title for each particular sale. The third reason was somewhat like the second, for were he to let the same ground on building leases he might have to prove his title to each lessee; whereas the Parliamentary title to the property would be a guarantee to them all that they were dealing with a competent party. The fourth reason was that they should not leave those estates which never changed hands—but where the title was complicated by reason of marriage and other family settlements—in a worse position than those estates which were encumbered.
MR. SERJEANT DEASY
said, he thought the Committee ought not to sanction the new principle contained in the clause. They had given a Parliamentary title to unencumbered estates which might change hands in sale; but what was now asked was tantamount to the extinction of every other kind of title, and would injuriously affect both the encumbrancer and the tenant. The class of lessees or tenants might be very seriously affected by this Bill, as well as the class of claimants and incumbrancers on property. He earnestly asked the Committee to pause before they agreed to the extension of the principle involved in the Bill.
§ MR. SPAIGHT
declared his conviction that of all the Bills or measures which the people of Ireland had to thank the Government for pressing forward, this was the most important. He believed the first clause gave benefits of a most material character to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland.
§ MR. M'CANN
said, he thought that nothing could be better for the country generally than the adoption of this clause. He was not at all afraid there would be any want of publicity, and he most cordially supported the clause.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."374
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 131; Noes 8: Majority 123.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ House adjourned at a quarter after One o'clock.