Section 5

The agreement, if under seal, is a deed, and chargeable with duty as such,(g); if not under seal, and the subject-matter is not of the value of 5l. (r), no duty is payable; and if, on a sale by auction, the same person buys several lots, a distinct contract arises for each lot; and whatever may be the aggregate amount, no stamp is required for any lot which separately sells for less than 5l. (s). If the purchase-money exceeds 5l., a 6d. stamp duty is payable (t), which may be denoted by an adhesive stamp, which is to be cancelled by the person by whom the agreement is first executed (u); this may, in practice, without payment of a penalty, be affixed within fourteen days after execution; after that time a 10l. penalty becomes payable (x). . .

As to stamps on agreements.

(n) Powell v. Divett, (1812) 15 Ea. 29; Davidson v. Cooper, (1844) 13 M. & W. 343; 13 L. J. Ex. 276; Mollett v. Wackerbarth, (1848) 5 C. B. 181; 17 L. J. C. P. 47; as to the effect of filling up the blanks in a deed after execution by one of the parties, see Adsetts v. Hives, (1863) 33 Beav. 52; 9 Jur. N. S. 1063; and see Norton, 2nd ed. 38. As to the alteration of the name of a party to a deed, see Re Howgate and Osborne's Contract, 1902, 1 Ch. 451.

(o) See Dartford Union v. Trickett, (1888) 59 L. T. 754; affd. 5 T. L. B. 619, where one of the parties was a corporation.

(p) Bluck v. Gompertz, (1852) 7 Ex. 862; 21 L. J. Ex. 278.

(q) See Robinson v. Drybrough, (1795) 6 T. B. 317.

(r) See Liddiard v. Gale, (1850) 4 Ex. 816; 19 L. J. Ex. 160; and Stamp Act, 1891, Sch. 1; Alpe, 17th ed. p. 155.

(s) Emmerson v. Heelis, (1809) 2 Taun. 38; Roots v. Lord Dormer. (1832) 4 B. & Ad. 77; 1 N. 4 M. 667.

(t) Stamp Act, 1891, Sch. 1.

Sect. 148 of the Bankruptcy Act, 1914, contains exemptions from stamp duty in respect of such conveyances and assurances as therein mentioned. Exemptions also exist in the case of agreements under the Acts for promoting the residences of the Parochial Clergy, the Church Building, Poor Law, and Tithe Commutation Acts, and compensation agreements under the L. P. Act, l922, and agreements entered into by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests.

Cases of exemption.

If the agreement is for the sale of an equitable estate or interest, the ad valorem duty is to be paid by the purchaser as if it were an actual conveyance on sale of the estate or interest agreed to be sold, and if this be done, the actual conveyance bears no duty (y).

If the agreement is not stamped, and is subsequently lost, or destroyed by the fraudulent act of the party chargeable thereon, the Court can give no relief unless the plaintiff can procure a copy; the defendant, if he has a copy, will be ordered to produce it for the purpose of its being stamped (z); and it appears that a copy may be made from recollection, if the witnesses can swear to the precise terms, and not merely the general tenor of the instrument (a). The Courts will, in the absence of circumstances inducing a supposition to the contrary, presume that a lost instrument was duly stamped (b); and may (c) admit unstamped or insufficiently stamped instruments in evidence upon payment in Court of the unpaid duty, a penalty of 10l., and a further sum of 1l. Although s. 14 of the Stamp Act, 1891, provides that an unstamped document shall not, except in criminal proceedings, be given in evidence for any purpose whatever, in practice it is admitted on the undertaking of the solicitor that it shall be stamped (d).

Loss of unstamped agreement, effect of.

(u) Stamp Act, 1891, s. 22.

(x) lb. s. 15 (1).

(y) Stamp Act, 1891, s. 59 (1); and see W. London Syndicate v. I. R. Commissioners, 1898, 2 Q. B. 507.

(z) See Fowle v. Freeman, (1804) 9 Ves. at p. 354; Sug. 14th ed. 144; Bousfield v. Godfrey, (1829) 5 Bing. 418; 7 L. J. (O. S.) C. P. 158; Blair v. Ormond, (1847) 1 De G. & S. 428; 11 Jur. 665.

(a) Smith v. Henley, (1844) 1 Ph. 391; 13 L. J. Ch. 221.

And s. 117 of the Stamp Act, 1891, enacts that every, condition of sale precluding objections on the ground of absence or insufficiency of stamp on any instrument executed after the 16th May, 1888, and every agreement for assuming liability on account of absence or insufficiency of stamp on any such instrument, or indemnity against such liability, absence or insufficiency, shall be void (e). And by s. 42 (2) of the L. P. Act, 1925, a stipulation that a purchaser of a legal estate in land shall pay or contribute towards the costs of or incidental to the preparation, stamping, or execution of a conveyance on trust for sale, or of a vesting instrument for bringing into force the provisions of the S. L. Act, 1925, is made void.

Agreement in evasion of the Stamp Laws void.