This section is from the book "Dart's Treatise On The Law And Practice Relating To Vendors And Purchasers Of Real Estate", by J. Henry Dart . Also available from Amazon: A treatise on the law and practice relating to vendors and purchasers of real estate.
Assuming that an apparently good title is deduced by the abstract, the next matter for consideration is the evidence which a purchaser may require in support of it; first, as to the existence and genuineness of abstracted documents; and secondly, as to other matters of fact.
What evidence may be required in proof of documents and facts.
A private Act of Parliament is sufficiently proved by a copy purporting to be printed by the King's printer (n), or under the superintendence or authority of His Majesty's Stationery Office (o). Every Act of Parliament passed after 1850 is a public Act unless the contrary is expressly provided by the Act (p). Private Acts which have not been so printed can be proved by an examined copy of the Parliament Roll (q).
Proof of private Acts.
(i) See Deverell v. Lord Bolton, (1812) 18 Ves. 505; Stewart v. Alliston, (1815) 1 Mer. at p. 33; Mcculloch v. Gregory, (1855) l K. & J. at p. 292; 24 L. J. Ch. 246.
(K) Alexander v. Crosby, (1844) 1 J. & L. 666.
(l) Taylor v. Blacklow, (1836) 3 Bing. N. C. 235; 6 L. J. N. S. C. P. 14; and see Bell v. Marsh, 1903, 1 Ch. 528; 72 L. J. Ch. 360, as to liability of solicitor acting for purchaser with regard to purchase of land to part of which the solicitor, who was an adjoining owner, had. unknown to himself or client, acquired a title by adverse possession.
(m) Per Tindal, C. J., 3 Bing. N. C. p. 248.
(n) Evidence Act, 1845, b. 3; Taylor, 11th ed. p. 11.
(o) Documentary Evidence Act, 1882, s. 2; Taylor, 1044.
An award under an Inclosure Act is proved by a copy or extract signed by the proper officer of the Court, if the enrolment .has- been made in the High Court; or by the clerk of the peace for the county or his deputy, if the enrolment has been made with the clerk of the peace (r). Under the Inclosure Act, 1845, copies of awards purporting to be sealed with the seal of the Inclosure Commissioners (s), and extracts and copies of copies of confirmed awards deposited with the clerk of the peace for the county and signed by the clerk or his deputy, are made evidence without further proof (t). The Inclosure Act, 1833, s. 1, makes valid awards made prior thereto, and which had not been enrolled in accordance with the Acts under which they were made. A partition under the Inclosure Acts is proved by a copy of the order under the seal of the Commissioners (s), which is delivered to each of the parties to the application (u).
Of awards and partitions under Inclosure Acts.
Copyhold assurances are proved by copies of Court Roll signed by the steward, and known as steward's copies; and it appears that, in strictness, evidence may be required of the steward's handwriting (a?), except, perhaps, where he is dead (y), and the document is above thirty years old and comes from the proper custody (z): such a requisition, however, when even modern copies come from the proper custody, is not usual in practice unless there are grounds for suspicion. Copies authenticated by the steward are evidence, though they are not the copies originally delivered to the tenant (a), and so also are examined copies (6). The purchaser may require the abstract to be verified by the production of authenticated or examined copies, in cases where the originals are lost, even though the steward will allow the purchaser to inspect the Court Rolls. If a surrender has been by attorney, the power of attorney must be produced, even though the surrender is thirty years old (c), and evidence must be given of the principal having been alive at the time of its being acted on (d), unless it is made irrevocable (e). The statement of a power of attorney on the Court Rolls is secondary evidence of the original, if the latter cannot be found (/).
Of copyhold assurances.
(p) Interpretation Act, 1889, s. 9.
(q) 1 Jarm. Conv. 4th ed. 159; Taylor, 11th ed. 1042; as to proof of old private Act, which has been omitted from the Parliament Boll, see Doe v. Brydges, (1843) 7 Sc. N. R. 333; 13 L. J. C. P. 209; Roscoe's Ev. in Civ. Actions, 19th ed. 94.
(r) See the Inclosure (Consolidation) Act, 1801, s. 35, repealed by the Commons Act, 1899; and Inclosure Act, 1833, s. 2.
(s) After 10th August, 1882, the Land Commissioners, see S. L. Act, 1882, b. 48; now the Board of Agriculture Act, 1889, s.. 2 (1) (b), and s. 13.
(t) See ss. 2, 146.
(u) Inclosure Act, 1845, s. 147; Inclosure Act, 1848, s. 14; and further, Inclosure Act, 1852, s. 17.
(x) Scriven, 7th ed. 487, 488.
Although a copyhold tenant had a right to production of the Court Rolls, it was held that the lord was not a trustee-of the Court Rolls for the tenants of the manor, and that it was not illegal for him to part with the Court Rolls to a stranger - against whom, however, the tenants' right to-production would still hold good (g). As to this, however, the effect of the Property Acts, 1922 and 1924, must be considered. By the L. P. Act, 1922, s. 128, copyhold lands are enfranchised, subject (until the same are extinguished) to the manorial incidents; and by s. 144 it is provided that any person interested in enfranchised land may, on payment of the fee prescribed by the Lord Chancellor, inspect the Court Bolls of the manor, and that the Court Rolls shall (whether before or after the manorial incidents have been extinguished) for the purposes of s. 14 of the Evidence Act, 185l, be deemed to be documents of such a public nature as to be admissible in evidence on their mere production from the proper custody. By the L. P. (Am.) Act, 1924, Sched. II., all manorial documents are to be under the charge and superintendence of the Master of the Rolls; and (save as thereinafter provided) manorial documents are to remain in the possession and under the control of the lord for the time being of the manor, and he is not entitled to destroy or damage wilfully such documents; but these provisions are not to prejudice or affect the right of any person to the production or delivery of copies of any manorial documents or to have the same kept in a proper state of preservation.