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Question

303. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the Property Registration Authority policy of non-representation and non-attendance in section 19 appeals of the Registration of Titles Act 1964; and if she will explain the way this is not at variance with its statutory role as set out in the Registration of Deed and Title Act 2006, Part 2. [9216/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Appeals to the court, under Section 19 of the Registration of Title Act 1964, must be distinguished from court proceedings in which the Property Registration Authority (PRA) is a party or where it assists the court by the production of documents or the provision of expert testimony on registration practices and procedures.
When the PRA decides to grant to refuse an application based on the prescribed evidence presented, it is exercising a quasi-judicial role, particularly in disputed applications. Any party, aggrieved by the decision of the PRA may appeal to the court under Section 19 of the Registration of Title Act 1964. In these instances, the PRA is an independent impartial adjudicator with no vested interest in the outcome. The PRA is neither a party nor a witness to the proceedings before it and it ought not, therefore, be a party or a witness in the hearing of any appeal from its decision. It is the function of the appellate court to review or re-examine the evidence presented at first instance and then to annul or confirm, with or without modification, decision or ruling of the PRA. This is no different to any other situation where an appellate court hears an appeal from a lower court or judicial or quasi-judicial body.
It is therefore a matter or jurisprudence, rather than policy, that the PRA does not attend court and is not represented at hearings of Section 19 appeals from its decisions. Part 2 of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006 provides for the establishment and governance of the PRA and the continuance of contracts and court proceedings to which the Registrar of Titles was a party immediately before establishment day. It does not alter the nature of the quasi-judicial role of the PRA, previously vested in the Registrar of Titles, under the Registration of Title Act 1964. The PRA remains legally independent in that regard.