AM disappointed with Government’s weak response to manorial rights report

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has expressed his disappointment with the UK Government’s weak response to the Justice Committee’s report on Manorial Rights, saying that it has not taken into consideration the anxiety they have caused.

Last year, Rhun gave evidence to the House of Commons’ Justice Committee as part of their inquiry into manorial rights, during which he was able to talk of Anglesey residents’ experiences in the case of Treffos.  The Committee’s report included some of the points raised by the Assembly Member in his evidence, including the need to review this law sooner rather than later.

The UK Government have now published their response to that report and disappointingly have concluded that they “do not consider that referral of a specific project to the Law Commission outside its normal programme of law reform or the commitment of resources to the necessary preliminary work on the financial implications of abolition is currently justified”.

Rhun ap Iorwerth responded:

“The issuing of notices on Anglesey in 2013 made many people worried about the consequences of having rights registered on their property deeds.  Although the rights would have been difficult to exercise, many faced difficulties re-mortgaging or selling their homes.  Nearly 1000 people turned up to a public meeting I organised in Menai Bridge, with some saying they feared losing their homes.

“I am therefore obviously disappointed with such a weak response from the government regarding manorial rights, which does not recognise the pain and confusion that they caused in Ynys Môn, and other areas of the UK.

“After taking evidence from both sides of the argument, the Justice Committee concluded that the law needs to be reviewed.  In their response, however, the Government conclude that:

‘the Government considers that committing resources to…a fundamental review of manorial rights as recommended by the Committee would at this time be disproportionate.’

“There is some hope of potential that could lead to some kind of change in the long run:

‘The Law Commission has confirmed that it will consider the recommendations in respect of ending the use of unilateral notices in manorial rights applications.’

“But this does not change my belief that these rights belong to a bygone era.

“I was pleased for the thousands of affected constituents on Anglesey that we were able to cancel all notices in the case of Treffos manorial rights, but the anxiety it caused was proof that these rights have no place in the 21st century.”