Clause 50. — (Short Title, Commencement and Extent.)

Orders of the Day — Rent Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1 November 1965.

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Lords Amendment No. 35: In page 31, line 22, after "22" insert: (restriction on re-entry without due process of law)".

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

As in the previous case, despite the comments of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry), the Government have taken the advice of the Scottish Law Officers who, for the moment, do not have seats in this House but no doubt will win them in by-elections.

This Amendment provides that the new Clause entitled (Restriction on re-entry without due process of law) shall not apply to Scotland. This is because it is not required in Scotland. It is already the law there that any right of re-entry or forfeiture can be enforced only after reference to the courts. I hope that on this occasion, as the innocent transporter of information from the Lord Advocate to the House, I shall receive the assent of hon. Members when I say that that is the case.

Photo of Mr Alexander Hendry Mr Alexander Hendry , Aberdeenshire West

With very great deference to the hon. Gentleman, we should like to see the Law Officers here to question them about these matters, for here again we are in considerable difficulty. In fact, there are two difficulties with this Amendment. The first is that the hon. Gentleman has still not answered my comment about the case, which I brought to his attention earlier, of the Scotsman who about 200 years ago was thrown out by his master by the scruff of his neck, an action which the Court of Session found perfectly legal. That decision has never been reversed. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will give us the advice about that case which he has received from the Lord Advocate.

The second difficulty is that a lease which contains consent to registration for preservation and execution may be recorded in the books of Council in Session and an extract from the books of Council in Session can be acted upon without any specific reference to the courts. For the guidance of the legal profession in Scotland, would the Under-Secretary tell the House whether such a lease will continue to be effective for the purpose of regaining possession without any special reference to the courts? It seems to me that the insertion of these words would have the effect of making such a lease effective. Is that the intention of the Government?

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

By leave of the House; the intention of the Government is not to upset what, until the hon. Gentleman's earlier intervention, had always been considered to be the case in Scotland for the last 400 years. I will willingly write to the hon. Gentleman explaining in full the researches which we carried out at length on the famous case of the coachman, a case which he raised in Committee and which occasioned a great deal of research, not only in my Department, but in that of the Lord Advocate. A full report was submitted, but I did not want to trouble the Committee with it at the time. I give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that I will write to him in full not only about the point he has made on this Amendment and his question in that context, but on the previous matter. I also give him the assurance that it will not be in confidence so that he can willingly use it in the Scots Law Times, or any other vehicle of publication which he believes to be correct in the circumstances.

I assure him genuinely that we have taken advice about this matter from the Law Officers and that they are fully cognisant of the problems which he has raised. I assure the House that we ought to agree to this Lords Amendment, because the law of Scotland as at present ought not to be disturbed any more.

Question put and agreed to.