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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am happy to do that, but I can reassure your Lordships that the problem was not incompetence on our part but frightening efficiency. (I am glad that approval for that is recorded by amusement in the House.) We want to clear everything. Everything that can be done at this stage should be done to put things in proper order. I had rather suspected that some may weep at losing the antiquity, but I hoped that there would be rejoicing at our efficiency.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 10 [Miscellaneous and general powers]:

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 102:


30 Oct 2001 : Column 1387

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I shall endeavour to be brief. In the usual conveyance a number of covenants for title are implied. These are important covenants because in them the vendor gives warranties as regards his or her power to convey and as to the quiet enjoyment of the property that can be expected by the purchaser.

The precise wording of these covenants has developed over the centuries. They are now set out in Section 77 of the Law of Property Act 1925 and Part 1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994. They have stood the test of time and many lawyers over the centuries. As far as we are aware, there is no need to tinker with them. However, the rule-making power in paragraph 3 of Schedule 10 will allow someone--we know not who--to interfere with these covenants in some way, although we know not how or why.

We should therefore be grateful if the Minister could enlighten us by telling us what rules are proposed, what they will do and why there is any need to do anything. I beg to move.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, in order to respond fully to the concerns raised by the amendment, I shall first briefly try to explain the general purpose behind the use of implied covenants in the conveyancing process and address the way in which the land registration system currently deals with them.

An obligation to deduce title to land in accordance with a contract of sale comes to an end on completion of the sale. Establishing that there has been a breach of implied covenants for title is the only way in which a transferee can seek a remedy for defects in title that emerge after completion.

Covenants for title have been implied since the Conveyancing Act 1881 by the use of certain words in a conveyance, although the parties can expressly agree to modify the terms of the covenant.

Rule 77A(2) of the Land Registration Rules 1925 currently provides that a person will not be liable for breach of most implied covenants in respect of matters set out on the register of title. The Bill addresses this issue by inserting a new subsection into Section 6 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994. This insertion does not exactly replicate the existing law, but the law is made clearer, more coherent and more accessible as a result.

The rule-making powers contained in Schedule 10 are fairly limited in scope but important nevertheless. First, rules may be made about the form of any provision in a registrable disposition that modifies covenants implied by Part 1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994. There are already rules under the existing legislation that achieve that end.

30 Oct 2001 : Column 1388

Secondly, a power is given to make provision about the application of Section 77 of the Law of Property Act 1925. That section relates to implied covenants on a conveyance of land subject to a rent charge. Although many rent charges will he phased out in 2037 and there are only limited circumstances in which new ones can be created, rules can be made to enable the implication of the covenants to be modified or excluded.

Lastly, rules may provide for how implied covenants are recorded on the register and whether they are to be recorded there. Provision may also be made for the register to be conclusive as to whether or not such covenants have been implied.

These rule-making powers are important. They are designed to ensure that everyone knows when implied covenants have been given in relation to a transaction and whether the statutory form of the covenant has been modified in any way. For that reason, the rule-making powers should remain as part of the Bill. Accordingly, I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her very full and reassuring response. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 103 not moved.]

8.30 p.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 104:


    Page 67, line 30, leave out "may".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is merely a tidying-up amendment. It removes the first word of paragraph 6(e), which is surplus to requirements. I ask your Lordships to accept the amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 124 [Exercise of powers]:

[Amendment No. 105 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 106:


    Page 42, line 18, after "Conveyancers," insert--


"( ) a person nominated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors,
( ) a person with experience in, and knowledge of, consumer affairs,".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 125 [Rules, regulations and orders]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 107:


    Page 42, line 31, leave out paragraphs (a) to (d) and insert--


"(a) regulations under section 99(2), or
(b) an order under section 99(3), 101 or 111,".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 108 not moved.]

30 Oct 2001 : Column 1389

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 109:


    Page 42, line 37, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert--


"(a) land registration rules,
(b) rules under Part 11 or section 119,
(c) regulations under paragraph 5 of Schedule 9, or
(d) an order under section 5(1), 62(9), 80(4), 116(1) or 127,".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 110 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 111:


    Page 43, line 2, at end insert--


"(5) Rules under section 93 or paragraph 1, 2 or 3 of Schedule 5 shall not be made unless a draft of the rules has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 129 [General interpretation]:

[Amendment No. 112 not moved.]

Schedule 11 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 113:


    Page 68, line 27, at end insert--


"( ) In section 87, at the end there is inserted--
"(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not be taken to be affected by section 23(1)(a) of the Land Registration Act 2001 (under which owner's powers in relation to a registered estate do not include power to mortgage by demise or sub-demise).""

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12 [Transition]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 114:


    Page 79, line 24, leave out from first "cautions" to end of line and insert "against dealings lodged under that Act".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, again, these are tidying amendments to Schedule 12, which deals with transitional arrangements. I do not believe that the amendments will be controversial. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 115 to 118:


    Page 79, line 25, after "cautions" insert "against dealings".


    Page 79, line 25, leave out "in the register".


    Page 79, line 26, leave out "section 54 of".


    Page 79, leave out lines 36 to 38 and insert "against first registration lodged under that Act, or any enactment replaced (directly or indirectly) by that Act.".

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 119 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 120:


    Page 82, line 6, leave out "this section" and insert "that Schedule".

30 Oct 2001 : Column 1390

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a drafting correction. I am sure that your Lordships will be very grateful for that. I ask noble Lords to accept the amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 13 [Repeals]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 121:


    Page 83, line 11, at end insert--


"The Land Registry Act 1862 c. 53. The whole Act."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Ballistic Missiles

8.36 p.m.

Lord Grocott: My Lords, as consideration of the Report stage of the Land Registration Bill is now complete, this evening's Unstarred Question on whether an assessment of the threat from ballistic missiles has been carried out is no longer restricted to the one hour available for such dinner-break business. Instead, a limit of one-and-a-half hours will apply. This change increases the maximum time available for all speakers to 12 minutes.


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