Attorney General v Congested Districts Board

CourtHouse of Lords (Ireland)
Judgment Date13 November 1922
Date13 November 1922

[House of Lords.]

H. L.

C. D. B. v. Attorney-General

Land Purchase - Congested Districts Board - Expenditure on improvements - Sale to tenant at enhanced price - Advances for the purpose of the Land Purchase Acts - Repayment in cash or in Land Stock - Irish Land Act, 1903 (3 Edw. 7, c. 37),sect. 72, sub-s. 3; Irish Land Act, 1909 (9 Edw. 7, c. 42), sect. 3.

Counsel for the appellants:—

Sect. 72, sub-s. 3, of the Irish Land Act, 1903, provides that when the Congested Districts Board have expended money on the improvement of an estate, and in consequence have sold parcels of that estate at an enhanced price to tenants or others, the National Debt Commissioners may advance to the Land Commission for repayment to the Congested Districts Board such sums as represent the increase of price consequent on the improvements.

Held, reversing the order of His Majesty's Court of Appeal in Ireland ([1921] 1 I. R. 258), and restoring the judgment of Powell J. ([1920] 1 I. R. 266), that the Congested Districts Board are entitled to receive such advances in money and not in Land Stock, section 3 of the Irish Land Act, 1909, not applying to such advances.

The Lord Chancellor (Viscount Cave ) (2):—

My Lords, this is an appeal by the Congested Districts Board for Ireland from a judgment of His Majesty's Court of Appeal in Ireland, reversing a decision of Mr. Justice Powell, and raises a question as to the right of the Board to receive repayment in cash of its expenditure on the improvement of lands purchased and re-sold by the Board under the Irish Land Acts. The amount involved in the appeal is small, but the decision will govern other cases.

The Congested Districts Board for Ireland has power under a series of statutes to purchase lands in congested areas, to improve the purchased lands and to re-sell them, generally in larger holdings, to tenants and others. The purchase of land and the improvement of lands purchased are financed in different ways, which it is important to keep distinct. The sums required by the Board for the purchase of land are

advanced to them by the National Debt Commissioners through the Land Commission, and, with interest at 23/4 per cent. per annum, are debited to the Board in the books of the Land Commission (see Irish Land Commission Act, 1903, sect. 72, sub-ss. 1 and 2); and on the land being re-sold to a tenant or other purchaser, the amount of the purchase-money, whether paid by the purchaser in cash or treated as an advance to him, is written off the debt due from the Board to the Land Commission (see Irish Land (Finance) Rules, 1912, rule 26). On the other hand, any sums which the Board may desire to expend on the improvement of an estate are provided by the Board out of its own income derived from the yearly Government grant; and if the estate is subsequently sold at a price exceeding the purchase-money, the Board is entitled to be repaid by the Land Commission such sum as represents the increase of price consequent on the improvement (see Irish Land Act, 1903, sect. 72, sub-s. 3, and Irish Land (Finance) Rules, 1912, rule 28). Your Lordships were informed that the amount so repayable is generally less than, and on the average about one-half of, the...

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