§ MR. M'CARTAN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant 1054 of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that, shortly after the express disagreement of Chief Land Commissioner O'Brien with his brother Commissioners at the last November sitting in Belfast, on the question of the trivial variations of the judicial rents based on taking the Court Valuers' instead of the Sub-Commissioners' acreable rent, the Chief Commission issued an order that the parties would not in future be supplied with copies of the Court Valuers' reports; (2) whether Court Valuers' reports are now supplied to the parties even on requisition; (3) if he will state why the copies are refused and for what purpose the order was made; and (4) if he will, suggest to the Land Commission the desirability of continuing to supply copies so long as appeals on questions of value are allowed?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
On the 7th December, 1897, the Land Commissioners announced that owing to the judgments of the Judges of the Queen's Bench Division, in The Queen (Lord Gosford) v. The Land Commission, they had thought it right to adopt a new form of report for the Court Valuers, and that, as this new form of report did not contain any statement as to what, in the opinion of the Court Valuers, was the fair rent of the holding, but merely a statement as to the gross letting value of the holding, and as to certain particulars of the improvements, they would return to the old practice of the Land Commission, and would not communicate the report of the Court Valuers in its altered form to the parties before the case came on for hearing, lest ignorant tenants, or tenants with imperfect knowledge of the terms of valuation, might mistake the sum named in the report as the fair letting value of the holding. To this practice the Land Commissioners have since adhered, except that in cases where the tenants have the protection of being represented by solicitors, they have allowed the parties to see the Court Valuers' reports as soon as the 1055 sitting has commenced, although the cases may not have been reached. I have no power to take any action in the matter as suggested in the fourth paragraph of the Question.