§ LORD CASTLETOWN
asked Her Majesty's Government (1) whether, having regard to the decision by the Court of Appeal in Ireland in the case of "Cope v. Cunningham," the Land Commissioners were entitled to continue to treat re-hearings as if they were merely appeals; (2) whether Assistant Commissioners appointed by the Lord Lieutenant under Section 43 of the Land Act, 1881, were and could be considered as "independent valuers" within the meaning of Section 48, Sub-section 4, of the said Act; and whether, when a land case was 725 coming up for rehearing, the Land Commission had power to refer the order and report of the Sub-Commissioners who adjudicated on the said case to two Assistant Commissioners to report to them, as if they were a Court of Appeal from their own colleagues, as to what order the Land Commission should make on the re-hearing.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The first paragraph of the question appears to have been put under some misapprehension. The Court of Appeal, in the case of "Cunningham v. Cope" referred to, decided that the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 1 of the Laud Law (Ireland) Act 1896, are mandatory upon the Land Commission when re-hearing fair-rent applications upon the appeal of the person aggrieved, and that the schedule must be filled up in all cases. Since that decision was communicated to them, the Land Commission have complied with the law as staled by the Court of Appeal in every case. The power given by Section 48 (4) of the Act of 1881 to appoint an independent valuer is a general power conferred upon the Land Commission, and one which they may exercise or not as they see fit in relation to any question as to any holding arising under the Act. The section referred to in the question is a transcript of a similar provision in Section 37 (b) of the same Act. The Land Commission consider that without question they have power to obtain reports from Assistant Commissioners, others than those whose decisions have been appealed from, for their assistance and consideration in any case where the person aggrieved by the Order of the Sub-Commission requires such case to be re-heard by the Land Commission. The final passage of this paragraph is also based upon a misapprehension. The Land Commission— and not the Assistant Commissioners, who report —fix the rents. The Land Commission consider it necessary to refer the schedule recorded by the Sub-Commission to the Court valuers, in order that they may know what improvements have been proved before and allowed for by the Sub-Commission, and in order that they may report upon what modifications (if any) ought to be made in the particulars recorded in the schedule.
§ LORD CASTLETOWN
said that, if he might respectfully any so, the answer was 726 not so clear or satisfactory as he could wish. He proposed to put a further question, and hoped to obtain an answer either from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack or from the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
§ House Adjourned at Twenty Minutes before Five o'Clock, to Monday, the 3rd of May next, a Quarter past Four o'Clock.