asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that applicants for advance payments under Section 8 (3) of the War Damage Act, 1941, are now asked by the War Damage Commission to provide a certificate of title from a solicitor instead of to forward the title deeds for examination; and as such payments are only made in hardship cases and as the obtaining of the certificate involves the payment of a fee laid down by the Law Society, will he take steps to re-establish the previous practice?
I am advised by the War Damage Commission that it would not feel justified in making any value payments, or advances of such payments, in respect of proprietary interests in property without proof of the title of the claimant to the property. Claimants are so informed and are notified that a convenient way of furnishing the necessary proof is by means of a certificate by a solicitor after inspection of the title deeds, for which a specially low scale of fees has been agreed with the Law Society. It remains open to claimants, however, to submit their original title deeds to the Commission if they prefer to do so.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the documents now sent to claimants do not make that clear? Will he make it clear that they have this alternative so as to avoid payment of a fee to solicitors?