Crown Estate Act 1961

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1961 c. 55


Crown Estate Act, 1961.

(9 & 10 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 55

An Act to make new provision in place of the Crown Lands Acts, 1829 to 1936, as to the powers exercisable by the Crown Estate Commissioners for the management of the Crown Estate, to transfer to the management of the Minister of Works certain land of the Crown Estate in Regent's Park and extend or clarify the powers of that Minister in Regent's Park, to amend the Forestry (Transfer of Woods) Act, 1923, as it affects the Crown Estate, to amend the law as to escheated land, and for purposes connected therewith.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Continuance of Crown Estate Commissioners, and general provisions as to their constitution and functions.

1 Continuance of Crown Estate Commissioners, and general provisions as to their constitution and functions.

(1) The Crown Estate Commissioners (in this Act referred to as ‘the Commissioners’) shall continue to be a body corporate for all purposes, charged on behalf of the Crown with the function of managing and turning to account land and other property, rights and interests, and of holding such of the property, rights and interests under their management as for any reason cannot be vested in the Crown or can more conveniently be vested in the Commissioners; and the property, rights and interests under the management of the Commissioners shall continue to be known as the Crown Estate.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Crown Lands Acts, 1829 to 1936, shall cease to have effect, and the Commissioners shall, for the purpose of managing and improving the Crown Estate or any part of it, have authority to do on behalf of the Crown over or in relation to land or other property, rights or interests forming part of the Crown Estate, and in relation to all matters arising in the management of the Crown Estate, all such acts as belong to the Crown's rights of ownership, free from any restraint on alienation imposed on the Crown by section five of the Crown Lands Act, 1702, or by any other enactment (whether general or particular), and to execute and do in the name of Her Majesty all instruments and things proper for the effective exercise of their powers.

(3) It shall be the general duty of the Commissioners, while maintaining the Crown Estate as an estate in land (with such proportion of cash or investments as seems to them to be required for the discharge of their functions), to maintain and enhance its value and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management.

(4) The Commissioners shall comply with such directions as to the discharge of their functions under this Act as may be given to them in writing by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary of State, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary of State in giving directions to the Commissioners under this subsection shall have regard to subsection (3) above, and before giving any such direction shall consult the Commissioners.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State shall act jointly in giving directions under this subsection, except that in matters not relating to Scotland the Chancellor of the Exchequer may act without the Secretary of State and in matters relating exclusively to Scotland the Secretary of State may act without the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

(5) The validity of transactions entered into by the Commissioners shall not be called in question on any suggestion of their not having acted in accordance with the provisions of this Act regulating the exercise of their powers, or of their having otherwise acted in excess of their authority, nor shall any person dealing with the Commissioners be concerned to inquire as to the extent of their authority or the observance of any restrictions on the exercise of their powers.

(6) Any transaction entered into by the Commissioners in the exercise of their powers (including an acquisition for the Crown Estate) may be carried out by the same means and with the same formalities, and any deed or other instrument entered into by them shall be construed in the same manner, and shall be registrable, as if they were acting on behalf of a subject of Her Majesty:

Provided that an advowson shall not be taken to be comprised in any general words in a grant or agreement for a grant of land.

(7) The provisions of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to the constitution and proceedings of the Commissioners and other matters relating to the Commissioners.

S-2 Reports and accounts of Commissioners.

2 Reports and accounts of Commissioners.

(1) As soon as may be after the end of each financial year, the Commissioners shall make to Her Majesty a report on the performance of their functions in that year, and shall lay a copy of that report before each House of Parliament.

(2) The report of the Commissioners for any financial year shall set out any directions given to the Commissioners during the year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary of State, except any direction in the case of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary of State has notified to the Commissioners his opinion that it should be omitted in the interests of national security.

(3) The Commissioners shall keep proper accounts and other records in relation thereto, and shall furnish the Treasury with such returns, accounts and other information about the Crown Estate and about the activities of the Commissioners, and with such estimates of future receipts and expenditure, as the Treasury may from time to time require.

(4) In their accounts the Commissioners shall distinguish between capital and income, and shall make any proper adjustments between capital account and income account (including provision, where appropriate, for recouping capital expenditure out of income), but so that—

(a ) any sum received by way of premium on the grant of a lease shall be carried to income account if the lease is for a term of thirty years or less, and to capital account, if the lease is for a term exceeding thirty years; and

(b ) the gross annual income received, and the expenses incurred, from or in connection with mining leases or the working of mines or minerals shall be carried or charged as to one half to capital account and as to one half to income account.

(5) The Commissioners shall prepare for each financial year statements of account in such form as the Treasury may direct, and shall transmit them to the Comptroller and Auditor-General not later than the end of November in the following financial year.

(6) The Comptroller and Auditor-General shall examine and certify the accounts transmitted to him under this section, and shall lay before each House of Parliament copies of the accounts, together with his report thereon.

(7) The Commissioners' financial year shall begin with the first day of April, and references to a financial year in relation to the Commissioners shall be construed accordingly.

S-3 General provisions as to course of management.

3 General provisions as to course of management.

(1) Save as provided by the following provisions of this Act, the Commissioners shall not sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any land of the Crown Estate, or any right or privilege over or in relation to any such land, except for the best consideration in money or money's worth which in their opinion can reasonably be obtained, having regard to all the circumstances of the case but excluding any element of monopoly value attributable to the extent of the Crown's ownership of comparable land.

(2) The Commissioners shall not grant a lease of land of the Crown Estate, or of any right or privilege over or in relation to any such land, for a term ending more than one hundred years from the date of the lease, and every such lease granted by them shall be made to take effect in possession not later than twelve months after its date or in reversion after an existing lease having at that date not more than twenty-one years to run.

(3) The Commissioners shall not, by the grant of an option or otherwise, contract to convey or create any estate or interest in, or any right or privilege over or in relation to, land of the Crown Estate at a date more than ten years after the date of the contract:

Provided that this subsection shall not apply to a contract under which the consideration to be received by the Commissioners for the conveyance or creation of the estate or interest, or of the right or privilege, is to be determined at the time it is conveyed or created, and is to be determined in such manner as, in their opinion, is calculated to secure to them the best consideration in money or money's worth which can at that date reasonably be obtained.

(4) Where moneys forming part of the Crown Estate are to be invested, they shall be invested either—

(a ) in the name of the Commissioners on real, leasehold or heritable securities in the United Kingdom, but excluding the security of any lease or leasehold property where the lease has less than sixty years to run at the date of the investment; or

(b ) in the name of the National Debt Commissioners in any securities or other investments for the time being authorised for the investment of money paid into the Fund for the Banks for Savings.

In this subsection ‘heritable security’ has the same meaning as in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1947.

(5) The powers exercisable by the Commissioners in the management of the Crown...

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