§ [The references are to Bill (81) as first printed for the House of Commons.]
§ Leave out Clause 4.
§ Clause 6, page 6, line 20, leave out from ("Tribunal") to end of line 21.
§ Clause 8, page 7, leave out lines 13 to 16.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, these three Amendments from another place deal with the point which was in the minds of your Lordships when the Bill was in Committee here and, if my memory is right, especially in the minds of Lord Silkin, Lord Granville-West and Lord Milner of Leeds. Clause 4, which the Amendments delete, was intended to prevent the system of registration and notices under Clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill from being by-passed. As all your Lordships are aware, under Section 3 of the Prescription Act, 1832, right of light is acquired after twenty years enjoyment unless it was enjoyed by some consent or agreement expressly made or given for that purpose by deed or writing. Therefore one of three methods which will exist of preventing the acquisition of a right of light is an agreement in writing which, but for Clause 4, would not require registration and since it need not appear in the title deeds might escape the notice of a purchaser.
We tried to deal with that point and we thought it would have been met by the registration of agreements. We realised that we could not deal with existing agreements, because that would have meant an immense amount of labour and 95 trouble. We thought that we could deal with future agreements, but three objections have been raised which seem to us to have weight. They really are practical objections. The first is that quite a number of agreements are more commonly found now in conveyances and leases than in separate documents. It would obviously be inconvenient to register the whole conveyance or lease and very difficult to extract the power. Secondly, it has become almost common form to include such consents on the sale or lease of a plot of building land, and that would have meant that the number of registrations might swamp the procedure. Thirdly, it would not be possible by registration to give the agreement exactly the same effect of the rights of a purchaser of the dominant land as an agreement has at present because of the difficulty that it might be necessary to bring the contents of the agreement, and not the mere fact of the existence of the agreement, to the minds of the relevant persons.
For these reasons (which I think were those which worried noble Lords who took an interest) the Law Society have asked us not to keep the need for registration under Clause 4. We felt that in a matter like this we ought to pay attention to the practical advice of those who have to deal with the problem. Therefore, I should recommend your Lordships to agree with the Amendments which have been made in another place. As they are all on the same point, your Lordships might allow me to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in these three Amendments.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, the noble and learned Viscount has explained to us very clearly the reason for these Amendments and, speaking for myself, I feel that I have to acquiesce in that reasoning. It is a great pity, because I think registration would have been of great advantage, especially at a time when there is so much development taking place. I know from practical experience the difficulties that arise from the fact that restrictive covenants which have never been anticipated arise at the very last moment. People suddenly turn up with 96 the benefit of covenants, and they have got to be disposed of. Had it been possible to have notice of this by registration, it would have been a great advantage. I do not propose to detain the House by arguing the matter any further. I think the reasoning of the noble and learned Viscount is very strong, and we must accept it.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.