Irish Land Commission v Dolan

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date21 November 1929
Date21 November 1929
CourtHigh Court (Irish Free State)

High Court.

Land Commission v. Dolan
THE IRISH LAND COMMISSION
Appellants
and
ANNIE DOLAN, Respondent (1)

Land Purchase - Moneys payable to the Land Commission - Recoverable from person in, actual occupation - Liability for arrears - Retrospective operation of statute - Land Act, 1927 (No. 19 of 1927), sect. 28, sub-sect. 1.

Circuit Appeal.

The Irish Land Commission issued a civil bill to recover"the sum of £109 7s. 8d., being £1 18s. 2d., £31 10s., £71 5s., and £14 6s., rent-charge and interest due by the defendant to the plaintiffs out of the lands of Coolodonnell, in the County of Leitrim, under sect. 28, Land Act, 1927, in said county, up to and ending the first day of June, 1928, under and by virtue of a certain deed of conveyance and mortgage, charging or vesting order. And the same is due on foot of an advance made under the Land Law (Ireland) Acts, and secured to the plaintiffs by the said deed, fiat, charging or vesting order; and for money found to be due by the defendant to the plaintiffs, and the same is due on foot of accounts stated and settled."

The agreement to purchase the lands, dated 1st November, 1911, was signed by Honoria Dolan, and after her death Patrick Dolan, the defendant's husband, became the registered owner of the lands. After his death the defendant continued in possession of the holding. No rent was ever paid in respect of the holding from the date of the signing of the agreement to purchase, and the amount claimed by the plaintiffs ran from that date.

The case came before the Circuit Court Judge (Judge Sheehy) on 20th November, 1928, who held that sect. 28 of the Land Act, 1927, was not retrospective. Accordingly, he gave a decree for the amount of the annuity payable in respect of the lands as from the date of the passing of the Act, viz.:— the 21st May, 1927, £6 6s., one year's annuity, due up to the 1st June, 1928.

The plaintiffs appealed to the High Court.

Sect. 28, sub-sect. 1, of the Land Act, 1927, provides:—

"All moneys payable to the Land Commission in respect of any lands shall be recoverable from the person in actual occupation of the lands at the time when proceedings for the recovery thereof are commenced, as a personal liability of such occupier, notwithstanding that the whole or part of such arrears may have accrued due before such person went into occupation of the lands."

Held, that the sub-section only applies to arrears which accrue after the passing of the Act.

Sullivan P.:—

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