Beamish Crawford Ltd v Commissioner of Valuation

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeO'HIGGINS C.J.
Judgment Date23 July 1980
Neutral Citation1980 WJSC-SC 2138
Date23 July 1980
Docket Number(53/1980)
BEAMISH & CRAWFORD v. COMMISSIONER OF VALUATION
BEAMISH & CRAWFORD LTD.
v.
THE COMMISSIONER OF VALUATION

1980 WJSC-SC 2138

(53/1980)

THE SUPREME COURT

1

JUDGMENT delivered the 23rd day of July 1980 by O'HIGGINS C.J. [nem. Diss]

2

This is an appeal from the Judgment and decision of the President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Finlay, on a Case Stated by Mr. Justice Neylon, the President of the Circuit Court, pursuant to the provisions of the Annual Revision of Rateable Property (Ireland) Act 1860 and the Courts of Justice Act 1936. The question raised in the Case Stated is whether certain tanks or vessels used by the Respondents in the process of brewing were rateable as being part of the rateable hereditament described in the Valuation List as "brewery offices and yard" or whether such tanks and vessels were machinery within the meaning of Section 7 of the Annual Revision of Rateable Property (Ireland) Act 1860 and as such excluded from valuation. The total value of the premises described in the Valuation List is £2,900 and it is agreed that of this sum a sum of £700 can be attributed to these tanks and vessels.

3

Section 7 of the Annual Revision of Rateable Property (Ireland) Act 1860 is still, despite the passage of 120 years, the statutory provision which applies to the making of a valuation of a plant or factory such as the Respondents' brewery. It refers to "any mill or manufactory" and provides that in making a valuation of such "or building erected or used for any such purpose" the Commissioner for Valuation is to value the buildings (as well as the lands), including the valuation of any machinery for the production of motor power, but excluding any other machinery contained in the premises. It is agreed that if the tanks or vessels with which this case is concerned can properly be regarded as machinery they are not used for the production of motor power and so should be excluded from any valuation. Neither the word "machine" nor the word "machinery" is defined in the valuation code. It follows, therefore, that one must look for a meaning for these words in their popular sense. In this respect, assistance can be obtained from previous decisions. In Cement Limited v. Commissioners of Valuation 1960 I.R. 283, Davitt P. giving the majority Judgment of a Divisional Court said at p.302, in relation to the word "machine" in Section 7, as follows:

"A dictionary defines "machine" as meaning an apparatus for the application or modification of force to a specific purpose. In its technical sense it includes such simple appliances as the lever, pulley, and inclined plane. In its popular sense it clearly embraces a vast range of appliances among which sewing machines, typewriters, bicycles, printing presses, power looms, spinning machines, and steel rolling mills readily come to mind. The word "machinery" has to be interpreted accordingly. The ordinary concrete mixer, which one frequently sees at work in connection with roadmaking or building operations, seems to me typically to come within the term "machine" as defined. It includes a metal chamber in which cement, sand, and water are placed and thoroughly mixed to become mortar, by means of a rotary motion of the chamber applied through suitable gear by power produced by an internal combustion engine. It is a simple example of the application of force to a specific purpose e.g. mixing mortar. On the other hand, an ordinary kiln in which lime is burnt or bricks are baked is clearly not a machine."

4

In that case the High Court did not accept the view that apparatus to be regarded as a machine must necessarily be mobile. In Thompson & Sons Limited v. The Commissioners of Valuation1970 I.R., Henchy J. at 267 said as follows:

"There is no definition of the word...

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