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Land Transfer Act—Question

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether Her Majesty's Government contemplate carrying out the recommendation contained in the Report of the Royal Commissioners appointed to inquire into the operation of the Land Transfer Act, and the present condition of the registry of deeds for the county of Middlesex, in favour of the discontinuance of that office; whether any steps have been taken by the registrars since the publication of that Report to adopt one uniform system of fees, and to reduce the fees charged to a scale in accordance with the law; whether the registrarship vacant since 1867, and in the gift of the Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench still remains vacant, and whether there is any intention of filling up that office; and, under what authority the emoluments of the vacant registrarship have been divided between the two surviving registrars, and if he can inform the House what additional emoluments have been in consequence received by the holders of these offices, and what was the net sum received by them in 1869?

said, in reply, that the Land Transfer Bill, now in the House of Lords, provided for the closing of the Middlesex Registry. No alteration in the fees taken in the Middlesex Registry had been made since the publication of the Land Transfer Report. The vacant registrarship had not been filled up by the Chief Justice, and there was no intention of filling it up; the Chief Justice understanding that it was the wish of the Government and the House of Commons that the office should remain vacant. The effect of this vacancy had not as yet been of any public benefit. The fees were of fixed amount, and were divisible among the registrars, and a vacancy only left a larger Bum divisible among them. It appeared that the Act of Queen Anne, constituting the Registry, gives the fees to the registrars; who accordingly divide the total amount among themselves, subject to the deduction of one-fourth, which under 23 & 24 Vict. c. 21, was paid to the Queen's Remembrancer, to be by him accounted for to the Treasury. In 1869 additional emoluments to the amount of £640 were received by each registrar and the Treasury on behalf of the Queen's Remembrancer, and the nett sum received by each registrar and the Treasury was £2,561 14s. 3d.