Clause 5 - Power to extend section 4

Part of Land Registration Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 11 December 2001.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Shadow Attorney General 11:30, 11 December 2001

The amendment would require the Lord Chancellor to consult the Land Registration Rule Committee in addition to other people whom he considers to be appropriate. It is imperative that all interested parties are properly consulted, especially those on whom the Government are relying to implement the system. The Rule Committee should be consulted before the Lord Chancellor exercises the power to amend section 4. It is important that where he does exercise that power, the order should be approved by each House of Parliament. If the Lord Chancellor decides, for whatever reason, to invoke his powers under clause 5, why not consult the Rule Committee in addition to other people whom he considers to be appropriate?

The matter was discussed at some length in the other place both in Committee and on Report, but we are having to make the same point yet again. It is a simple point about consultation. As Baroness Buscombe said in the other place:

''It remains our contention that if we are to have a rule committee, we should have a committee that has broad powers and a strong remit in order to allow it to be used to good, practical effect by the Lord Chancellor of the day to ensure that the right decisions are made.

I echo the words of the Minister''—

that is, Baroness Scotland

''when she said in Committee,

'Confidence in the system is necessary. Once that confidence has been established, it will be possible for the Lord Chancellor of the day to look again at whether a further reduction is merited, but that would be done at a time that was in line with what the market, the profession and the registry could tolerate with ease'.—(Official Report, 17/07/01; col. 1395.)

We believe that the rule committee would be ideally placed, given its constituents, to signal to the Lord Chancellor when that time may be right.''—[Official Report, House of Lords, 30 October 2001; Vol. 627, c. 1314.]