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Domestic Properties (Registration)

Volume 827: debated on Monday 29 November 1971

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asked the Attorney-General if he will introduce legislation designed to require the registration of particulars of individual domestic properties.

No. The Government's policy is to extend registra- tion of title under the Land Registration Acts.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I am fully conversant with the Land Registration Act, 1925, under Section 130 of which he has power to extend registration? Is he not failing in his duty by not so extending it, remembering that the effect of doing so would be to cut the conveyancing costs of solicitors by one-third, according to my information? In view of the difficulty which particularly youngsters face in buying houses, would not this make a substantial contribution?

The Law Society made recommendations in 1965 on what might be called the log book principle, which the hon. Gentleman probably has in mind. However, the Law Commission advised against them and the Government of the day did not take the recommendations up. It is the proposal to continue with the substantial progress that is being made, and now some 22½ million people live in compulsory registration areas, which is about half the population.

Naturally the Law Commission would give that advice because it has a vested interest in the matter. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider this matter, because if both sides of the House are in favour of home ownership and really want to encourage it, this would be a reasonable way to go about giving that encouragement?

The hon. Gentleman must have misunderstood me. It was the solicitors who made the suggestion to the Law Society but the Law Commission, which was established by the Labour Government, rejected it. The solicitors made the proposal but the Law Commission said the best way to proceed was in the way that is now being done.

While for once I regret that I must repudiate what my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) said in his observation about the Law Commission, for which we are immensely grateful in all parts of the House, may I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to accept that there is a case for speeding up the process of registration, which would make speedier and cheaper the task of conveyancing?

I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman and it was the method about which I was disagreeing with his hon. Friend. I agree that the procedure and movement forward on land registration is of great advantage.

On a point of order. In view of the Minister's unsatisfactory Answer. I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.