Lynch v Butler

Judgment Date14 July 1925
Date14 July 1925
Docket Number(1924.—No. 5898.)
CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Lynham v. Butler
(1924.—No. 5898.)

Supreme Court.

Landlord and tenant - Land purchase - Action for recovery of possession - Expiration of lease - Order declaring the holding to be one to which the Land Act, 1923, applies - Alteration in the relationship of landlord and tenant - Crucial date - Position of tenant - Rights conferred - Estoppel - Land Act, 1923 (No. 42 of 1923), sects. 19, 20, sect. 24, sub-sect. 1,sect. 70, sect. 73, sub-sect. 2.

Sect 24, sub-sect. 1, of the Land Act, 1923 (No. 42 of 1923), passed on August 9th, 1923, provides:—"Subject to the provisions of this Act and notwithstanding anything contained in any other enactment, all tenanted land wherever situated . . . shall by virtue of this Act vest in the Land Commission on the appointed day, in the like manner and with the like consequences as if vesting orders under the Land Purchase Acts had been made on the appointed day in respect thereof in pursuance of subsequent purchase agreements entered into by the Land Commission with the respective owners of the lowest interest in the land constituting an interest saleable under the Land Purchase Acts, at the price fixed by or under this Act."

M. being tenant for life of certain lands, demised them for the term of her life to the defendant. Upon M.'s death on August 22nd, 1924, the plaintiff, being entitled in remainder in fee-simple, brought an action to recover possession of the lands. During M.'s lifetime the defendant had obtained an order from Wylie J. declaring that the lands constituted a holding to which the Land Act, 1923, applied. "The appointed day"mentioned in sect. 24, sub-sect 1, of the Act had not been fixed.

Held by the Supreme Court (Kennedy C.J. and FitzGibbon J.; Johnston J. dissenting), that lands which, at the date of the passing of the Act, are comprised in a holding within the operation of the purchase and sale provisions of the Act, do not cease to be within those provisions by the happening of an event, such as would, but for the Act, determine the tenancy before the actual vesting of the lands in the Land Commission or the appointment of a day for such vesting under the provisions of the Act.

The first step in the scheme for the compulsory sale and purchase of holdings to which the Act applies is the abolition of rent-paying to the landlord upon the passing of the Act; and the date of that first step is the crucial date for determining the application of the Act to tenanted land. The Act contains no provision for the cancellation of its application in circumstances such as those in the case before the Court, and therefore the change of position brought about by M.'s death was not such as to take the holding out of the operation of the Act, and accordingly the plaintiff was not entitled to an order for possession.

Held further, that it followed from the order of Wylie J. that the holding would vest automatically in the Land Commission as tenanted land.

Decision of Sullivan P., [1925] 2 I.R. 82, affirmed.

Appeal by the plaintiff from an order made by Sullivan P. on March 2nd, 1925, refusing an order for possession of certain premises.

The facts are stated in the report of the case in the Court below, ante, page 82, and also in the judgment of Kennedy C.J.

Sullivan P. held that the statutory rights conferred, and the liabilities imposed, on the tenant of a holding to which the Land Act, 1923 (No. 42 of 1923), applies, are unaffected by the expiration of the tenancy before "the appointed day," and that the provisions of the Act deprived the plaintiff of any right to recover possession of the lands in question.

Kennedy C.J. :—

This is an appeal from a judgment of the President of the High Court in favour of the defendant on the trial of the action. The action was brought to recover possession of the house, offices, and lands of Mount Seskin, containing 668 acres, 1 rood and 10 perches, situate in the County of Dublin, and also possession of certain lands of Mount Seskin known as the Causeway Farm, containing 9 acres and 13 perches, lately in the occupation of James Shaughnessy, as tenant, under the Land Judge of the late High Court of Justice, and also to recover possession of the shooting and all other ground rights attached to the said lands. The matter in issue in the action and in this appeal is entirely a question of law.

The facts (which are common case) are shortly as follow:— One, Francis Lynham, was formerly seised of all the hereditaments and premises, the subject of the action, for an estate in fee-simple in possession. He died in the year 1866, having settled the said lands and hereditaments by his will upon certain uses and trusts, under which, in the events that happened, his daughter, Mary, then the wife of Michael C. Macinerney, was, on and prior to the 30th day of July, 1920, seised as...

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    ...1923, the lands in question being "tenanted lands" within that Act, and the "appointed day" not having been fixed. Lynam v. Butler, [1925] 2 I.R. 231, applied. Sullivan P.:— The question in this case is whether sporting rights over certain lands which were reserved exclusively to the Duke o......
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