Londonderry Union (Guardians) v Londonderry Bridge Comrs

Judgment Date13 June 1868
Date13 June 1868
CourtExchequer (Ireland)

Exch. Cham.



The Mersey Dock Case11 H. L. 443.

R. v. Salterƒ€™s Load SluiceENR4 T. R. 730.

Governors of the Poor of Bristol v. WaitENR5 Ad. & El. 1.

Mersey Docks Case11 H. L. 443.

The King v. Weaver NavigationENR7 B. & C. 70, n.

The King v. The Inhabitants of LiverpoolENR7 B. & C. 61.

R. v. Harrogate15 Q. B. 1020.

The Queen v. The Mayor of Liverpool9 A. & E. 435.

The Queen v. Exminster12 A. & E. 2.

Mersey Docks v. Cameron; Jones v. Mersey Docks11 H. L. 443.

The Mersey Docks CaseENR8 C. B. N. S. 114,

The Salterƒ€™s Load Sluice CaseENR4 T. R. 730.

Wait v. Governors of Bristol Poor5 A. & E. 1.

The Tyne Improvement Commissioners v. ChirtonENR1 E. & E. 516.

Rateability Exemption from Property held for Public Purposes.

THE GUARDIAN-8 OF VHF, LONDONDERRY UNION Exch. Cham. v. THE LONDONDERRY BRIDGE COMMISSION- 1868. ERS (1). May 25, 26. June 13. The Londonderry Bridge Act, 1859, 22 Vict. c. vii.-Irish Poor Law Act, 1 & 2 Vict. c. 56, s. 63-Tenement Valuation Acts, 9 10 Vict. c. 110 ; 15 ft 16 Vict. c. 63 ; 17 Vict. c. 3-Rateability-Exemption from-Property held for Public Purposes. The Londonderry Bridge Act, 1859 (Stat. 22 Vict. e. vii.), constituted a Board of Commissioners, with power to lend money to be applied to the conÂÂstruction of a bridge. The Act also empowered the Commissioners, when the bridge should be completed, to erect toll-houses and take tolls, and directed the tolls to be applied, first, in payment of the costs of the Act; secondly, in payÂÂment of an annual sum to the Irish Society ; thirdly, in payment of the exÂÂpenses of maintaining the bridge in proper condition; fourthly, in payment of interest on money borrowed under the Act ; fifthly, in forming a sinking fund for the payment of the money so borrowed ; and lastly, the Act directed that the residue of the tolls should, from time to time, be invested and applied in forming a sinking fund for the annual expenses connected with the bridge tolls, to the end that it might become toll free. Held, reversing the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench (dissentientThus KEOGH and MORRIS, M., and DEASY, B.), that the tolls and toll-houses were hereditaments " dedicated to, or used for public purposes," within the meaning of the Irish Poor Law Act (1 & 2 Vict. c. 56, s. 63) ; and that, therefore, the Bridge Commissioners were not liable to be rated to the relief of the poor in respect of such tolls and toll-houses. Tins was an appeal by the Defendants from the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench in favour of the Plaintiffs. The deÂÂcision below is reported (I. R, 1 C. L. 283), where the facts of the case are fully stated. 111'Causlancl, Q. C., and Carson, for the Plaintiffs. Macdonogh, Q. C., and Colgultou J. P. Hamilton, Q. C., with them), for the Defendants. (1) Coram MONAHAN, C. J., PIGOT, RIS, U., and FITZGERALD and DEAR; C. B., K.},git, O'HAuAN, and Moti- BB. 578 THE IRISH REPORTS. Exch. Ohara. The arguments used, and the authorities cited, were the same 1868. as in the Court below, and are fully reported. GUARDIANS OF L.-DERRY UNION MORRIS, J. This case comes before us on error alleged in the L.-DERRY judgment of the Queen's Bench, deciding that the Commissioners BTW of the Derry Bridge were rateable. The facts are already so fully stated in the report of the case in that Court, (1st Irish Reports p. 283), that it would be a. mere waste of time to repeat them; and inÂÂdependent of that circumstance, I see no advantage in a judgment restating all the facts of a case. Two questions were argued before us 1st. Whether the valuation, not having been appealed from, is conclusive, so as to preclude the Commissioners from disputing their liability to the rate ? 2nd. Whether the Commissioners, if not precluded from disputing their liability to the rate, by reason of not having appealed against the valuation, are exempt from liability for rates on the tolls leviable by them. We are informed that the Guardians do not now rely on the first question ; and desire a decision merely on the second question-as to the liability or non-liability of the Commissioners to pay rates. In my opinion, however, a consideration of the first question to some extent enters into the second, and I feel no difficulty whatever in coming to the conclusion, that the Commissioners, if dissatisfied at their non-exemption from the valuation on the annual revision thereof, should have appealed, and could not now dispute their liaÂÂbility by an appeal against the rate. The necessity for coming to that conclusion on that question arises from the fact, that in my judgment the liability, or rather the alleged exemption, must deÂÂpend exclusively on the Valuation Acts, 15 & 16 Viet. c. 63, and. 17 Viet. c. 8, and not upon the construction of the Poor Law Act, 1 & 2 Viet. c. 56, s. 63, if there be any substantial difference beÂÂtween them. That Act for the first time introduced a power of assessÂÂment for rates for the relief of the poor in Ireland. By secÂÂtion 61, rates were to be made and levied on every occupier of rateable hereditaments within the Union. Section 63 declares COMMON LAW SERIES. 579 what are rateable hereditaments, and amongst them are tolls. Exch. Chant. The proviso contains the exemption of buildings used for religious 1866. worship, for educational purposes, charitable purposes, and finally, a 1:fARDIANS any hereditaments used for public purposes. Section 64 declares °F L.-DERRY that the value of the hereditaments to be rated is to be ascertained ihnori v. as the net value of what the premises would reasonably let for from L. -DE (MY BRIDGE COII. year to year, the costs of maintenance and repairs, and all rates, taxes, and public charges being paid by the tenant. Section 66 auÂÂthorizes the guardians to have valuations made of hereditaments within the Union liable to be rated. The importance of these secÂÂtions, 64 & 66, I will explain afterwards. Section 106 gives a geÂÂneral power of appeal to any person aggrieved by any order or conÂÂviction of a certain amount, or by any rate, or by reason of any person having been put in or left out of the rate, or the amount charged upon him; and in fact it was by an appeal under this secÂÂtion that the Commissioners sought to test their exemption fromtheir prima facie liability to be being the occupiers of tolls by being in the receipt of them. The 6 & 7 Viet. c. 36, extended the exemption from assessment for poor rates to lands or buildings exÂÂclusively occupied for the purpose of literary and scientific societies. I should observe that the mode of valuation for grand jury cess was under a quite distinct code ; and was so when the next Act to which I consider it necessary to refer was passed-the 9 & 10 Yid. c.110, entitled, "An Act to amend the Law relating to the Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland," which provides for a general tenant valuation, it having been found, I presume, that valuations of distinct Unions were not made on a fixed plan, and that they would be better placed under a general supervision upon a general princiÂÂple. Section 9 virtually and in words re-enacts for poor law purposes the provisions of sections 63, 64 & 66 of the 1 & 2 Vict. c. 56. [Here the learned judge read sections 9, 16-18, 19-24, 25-27, 28-30, 31ÂÂ33]. Can it be now contended that the liability to, or exemption from rating for poor law purposes was not to be regulated by that Act, thus so carefully providing for valuation under the supervision of a Commissioner of Valuation for all Ireland, and abolishing the previous valuations of Unions by the Guardians, who thenceforth were deprived of any control over the valuation ? The next Act I refer to is the 15 & 16 Yid. c. 63, entitled, " A n Act to amend the Law relating to the Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland." The object of that Act was to have a uniform valuation for all assessments, public or local ; the 9 & 10 Vict. had preserved distinctions. It repeals the 9 & 10 Viet., and provides for the valuation under that Act being altered to meet the principle established by it, which was founded on a uniform scale of prices provided by section 11: instead of the criterion for valuation for poor law rating being the letting value, the criterion for all assessments for the future was to be ascertained on an estimate of the value with reference to this fixed scale of prices. It removes any distinction as to the mode of estimating value, as between any assessment, poor rate, or otherwise. It then • proceeds to remove any distinction as to rateable hereditaments in respect of assessments for poor rate and other assessments. [Here the learned judge read sections 12, 13, 14, 15, & 16.] It proceeds to give the fullest power of appeal against the valuation-first to the Commissioner of Valuation, section 19; andif dissatisfied with his deÂÂcision, to the Quarter Sessions. But this appeal is one in which the Commissioner of Valuation is to be the Respondent, and in which the Guardians are no parties, and could not be. Yet it has been argued that the same question might be raised in an appeal against the rate, in which the Guardians, under the 1 & 2 Vict., should be the contending party with the Appellant on a subject on which they had no control nor knowledge. The ComÂÂmissioner of Valuation, the party who had the knowledge of the facts and the control, gets no notice, and could not appear. I am, therefore, clearly of opinion that the question of liability or exemption from rates should be by appeal against the valuation ; and although that objection has been waived, yet the question of liability or exemption from rates must depend exclusively on the construction of the Valuation Aets. That would lead me to a consideration of...

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