I beg to move amendment 6:
Section 34, sub-section (5). After the word "compensation" in line 33 to insert the words "and all costs and expenses".
Section 34, as the Seanad will remember, provides for paying out money to owners on titles which may not be perfect provided the court is of opinion that the facts are such as to make it improbable that any adverse claim will be made to the purchase money. The section also provides for a case in which, notwithstanding the ruling of the judge, another owner, the lawful owner or claimant, may appear and prove himself to be the person who really is entitled to the purchase money. In such a case as that the section provides that the Court can pay him a sum of money by way of compensation. There is also a provision that the money paid by way of compensation to the rightful owner shall be recoverable from the person who was wrongfully paid. Of course, it is very just and fair that it should be in the section, although indeed, if a man who is not entitled to money gets it I should imagine that he would very quickly go out of the jurisdiction. There is a provision here to the effect that the amount of any compensation paid by the Land Commission under this section shall be repaid to the Land Commission by such person as shall be declared by the Court to have received any portion of the purchase money. That is the section as it stands, and it provides for the payment of compensation.
My amendment is to this effect: that, in addition to the compensation, the person who wrongfully received the money shall pay all costs and expenses incurred by the Land Commission. I think it is reasonable that he should. If the compensation can be recovered from the man who wrongfully gets the money why should not the costs and expenses incurred by his wrongful claim be also recovered? The Parliamentary Secretary says that these costs and expenses are trivial. I do not understand how he can say that because no case of the kind has yet arisen. There has been no case of a person being wrongfully paid and of a rightful owner turning up and claiming and receiving compensation. Therefore we do not know what costs and expenses may be incurred in litigation and in the investigation of title. There have been several cases in which persons representing themselves as owners have received money and have been enabled, by orders of the Land Commission, to mortgage their estates, but there never has been a case in which a person not entitled got money, the person really entitled turning up later and claiming and receiving compensation. Such a case could not arise except under the provisions of this Bill.
If the Land Commission can pursue a person who wrongfully got the money for the amount of compensation that they are compelled to pay, why should not they be entitled to pursue him for the very heavy costs which, in my judgment, will be incurred in the litigation that must necessarily arise where a person lawfully entitled claims money which a person not entitled had already received? I do not know why the Parliamentary Secretary has refused to accede to this amendment. I think he is under the impression that the costs and expenses would be trifling. I think he is wrong in that impression. He may say that these costs and expenses will be included in the compensation, but I say that they will not be included in the compensation. I think it is only just that the person who gets money to which he is not entitled should pay, not merely the compensation, but the costs incurred by the Land Commission. Why should the State be at the loss of the costs and expenses entailed by litigation of this character?