I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether he can state the number of titles registered since 1862, when the existing system of land registry was established, under which it is open to any landowner in England to voluntarily register his title; and, having regard to the fact that the system of compulsory registration of title, under the Land Transfer Act, 1897, was to be experimental only, as is shown by the provision that the system was not to be extended beyond one county for three years after the first Order making registration compulsory; and, seeing that the new system came into operation in the county of London under an Order dated 18th July, 1898, whether it is intended to hold an inquiry into its working before the experimental period of three years expires on the 17th July next; or whether it is proposed to test the working of the system in some other way, in view of the complaints that 'the system has added to the difficulty and expense of dealing with property.
The total number of titles registered to the end of February is 17,281, of which 756 were prior to 31st December, 1898, as appears from the Parliamentary Return in July, 1899, No. 304. No case for holding an inquiry into the working of the Act has been established. Its extension is intended to be gradual, and its working will be tested from time to time by experience of the system in actual operation.