Evidence Session (Sections 2089-2099)|
21 MARCH 2006
2089. CHAIRMAN: Good morning everybody. I
wanted to say that the Committee would be extremely grateful if
we could have heard all the evidence and completed the final submissions
on Lincoln's Inn Fields by the end of today in order that the
Committee may deliberate on this clause tomorrow morning. I am
well aware that everything has to be given its due weight and
therefore if it does not pan out like that there will no doubt
be good reasons, but it would be very helpful if that could be
how things go today. With that in mind, the Committee is able,
if required, to continue sitting until 4.30 today, if that would
be helpful. We will make ourselves available in the hope that
if there is the necessity for a bit of overrun after four o'clock
that counsel will find that useful. Is that accepted?
2090. MR CLARKSON: Yes. Can I ask a
logistical question as to how long you think you would want tomorrow
morning for deliberation? Would it be a lengthy session?
2091. CHAIRMAN: It is a slight how-long-is-a-piece-of-string
question, Mr Clarkson. I would expect that we would certainly
need the time between our ordinary start time, 10.30 and the time
we would ordinarily take a break, say between 11.30 and 11.45.
It is quite possible given that these issues are quite difficult
- and, of course, this will depend on the force of your arguments
and Mr Laurence's arguments when the moment comes - but the issue
is difficult and we may need a little more time than that. We
will certainly need at least that.
2092. MR CLARKSON: I will pass that
back to our timetabling. Thank you.
2093. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Mr Laurence?
2094. MR LAURENCE: Could I call Colonel
Hills as our next witness?
COLONEL DAVID HILLS, Sworn
Examined by MR LAURENCE
2095. MR LAURENCE:
Good morning Colonel Hills, are you David Henry Hills?
2096. I think you have told the Committee that
since your retirement from the Army in June 1997, you have been
employed as the Under Treasurer (Chief Executive) of the Honourable
Society of Lincoln's Inn in London WC2?
That is correct.
2097. In paragraph one of your proof, you describe
what the purpose of your evidence is going to be, perhaps you
would just briefly summarise that?
Clause 112 seeks to set aside the 1894 Act which you have heard
about already. It is my principals' belief - that is the benchers
and the members of the Inn - that the provisions of the 1894 Act
were put in place to safeguard their rights that they had at that
time as freeholders albeit having let Lincoln's Inn Fields out
on a very long 900 year lease to Camden Council.
2098. You have responsibility as Under Treasurer
for a variety of matters. Tell us about those if you will?
Lincoln's Inn has been in existence since 1422 and has grown up
over time and is an unincorporated association of persons, it
is governed by a council of the masters of the bench, in Lincoln's
Inn referred to as benchers, who are elected from the body of
the Inn. I report to the annually elected Treasurer of the Inn,
currently this year Sir Donald Rattee. My responsibilities are
the general management of the Inn, in particular, maximising its
income as far as I can from its property which is 11 acres of
Central London and spending that money in the maintenance of those
buildings, all but two of which are either grade one, grade two
starred or grade two, and using that money to fund educational
activities as well as activities for the Bar as a whole. To do
that I have a number of departments, principally an education
department and a library, which is one of the largest law libraries
in the world and probably one the finest. I have an accounts department
which obviously looks after the financial matters, I have an estates
department which manages the estate and I have a general administrative
department which looks after administration including our own
gardens which not only are for the benefit of the members but
are open to the public every day of the week.
2099. Thank you. You have already mentioned
that the Inn occupies some 11 acres. How is its property estate
used, Colonel Hills?
As I said there are 11 acres. It is split up into three major
parts, that is New Square which is almost entirely barristers'
chambers and solicitors' offices with some residential flats on
top of them. It has a second square, Old Square, which includes
just at the edge of it some of the oldest buildings, and the old
hall goes back to 1495. Then around Stone Buildings to the north,
there are more barristers' chambers and residential flats. Old
Square also has a number of residential flats including 18 flats
with student accommodation.