Tierney v Tough

CourtChancery Division (Ireland)
JudgeM. R.
Judgment Date20 January 1914
Docket Number(1913. No. 101.)
Date20 January 1914
In Re the Trusts of the Grand Canal Boatmen and Workmen's Benefit Society Funds. Tierney and Others
Tough and Others.

M. R.

(1913. No. 101.)











Benefit Society — Unregistered Friendly Society — Action for dissolution — Unexpended funds — Charity — Cy-près — Bona vacantia — Resulting trust.

Held, (1) that the society was not a charity to which the doctrine of cy-près could be applied, neither was the Crown entitled to the funds as bona vacantia; (2) that the contributions of the company were absolute gifts to the society, and that there was no resulting trust in favour of the company; and (3) that the funds were the property of the society, and were divisible amongst the existing members at the time when the business of the society ceased to be carried on, in proportion to the amounts contributed by them.

Cunnack v. Edwards ([1896] 2 Ch. 679) distinguished.

In re Printers' and Transferrers' Amalgamated Trades Protection Society ([1899] 2 Ch. 184) considered.

Trial of Action.

This action was brought on January 30th, 1913, by John Tierney, Thomas Bulger, Edward Walsh, John Egan, Peter Lawlor, Thomas Mellon, and Thomas McDermott as plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all other members of the Grand Canal Boatmen and Workmen's Benefit Society, claiming—(1) to have the said society dissolved and the affairs thereof wound up under the direction of the Court, and to have all necessary accounts and inquiries taken; and (2) to have the rights of all parties beneficially interested in the trust funds ascertained and declared. It was entitled in the matter of the trusts of the funds of the society, and in the matter of the Trustee Act, 1893.

The plaintiffs sued as members of the society. The original defendants were George Tough, G. B. Allen, J. A. C. Campion, John Judge, Peter Lawlor, and Edward Walsh, who were sued as the committee of management of the society, and the Grand Canal Company, sued as the trustees of the funds of the society. By order dated June 7th, 1913, the Attorney-General for Ireland was added as a defendant.

The facts of the case were as follows:—

On the 26th day of June, 1878, at a meeting of the Court of Directors for the ordering, managing, and directing the affairs of the Grand Canal Company, on the memorial of the boatmen in the employment of the Grand Canal Company in reference to the formation of a sick and mortality fund, it was ordered that whereas it was desirable to form a fund for payment of boatmen during sickness, and to defray funeral expenses in the event of death, and as it seemed unnecessary to encumber so small a society with the expenses and rules of a registered benefit society, the Board approved, until further order, of the following rules:—

1. That all the boatmen and crews of steamers in, the company's employment must be members, and each member shall be required so long as he continues in the service, to submit to a reduction of a sum of 4d. per week in his wages, such sum to be paid into the fund as hereinafter provided. 2. That the Grand Canal Company give a like sum of 4d. per week for each member. 3. That the fund so formed shall be lodged in the savings bank each fortnight to the credit of the trustees, viz., the secretary, the traffic manager, and Patrick Fox and Charles Claffy, boat-masters, who shall also be the managers of the fund of the society. 4. That the claims on the fund shall be—(a) payment of half wages in case of sickness (not exceeding 10s. a week), for any period not exceeding three months; one-third wages (not exceeding 6s. 8d. a week), the second three months; one-fourth wages (not exceeding 5s. a week), for any period not exceeding the third three months; (b) payment of the cost of funeral expenses of a member, not exceeding £3; (c) that in the event of the death of a member, the sum of £5 be given to his widow or mother, if any, or, if wife and mother be dead, to the children, if any; (d) that a sum of £1 10s. be allowed towards the funeral expenses of a member's wife or child.

On the 3rd day of November, 1890, the Board of Directors approved of certain amended rules in reference to the said fund, viz.—That any man dismissed from the service of the Grand Canal Company, or ceasing to subscribe, or leaving the service of his own accord, shall have no claim on the fund, on account of past contributions.

Subsequently, at a meeting of the company in reference to the sick and mortality fund of the boatmen in their employment, it was ordered that it was desirable to provide a fund for payment of boatmen during sickness, and to defray funeral expenses in the event of death, and the Board approved of the following rules, amongst others:—

1. All boatmen and crews of steamers and workmen under weekly wages at James's Street Harbour in the employment of the Grand Canal Company, are eligible for membership; and if, after payment of six months' subscription, any member accept any other employment under the company, he shall not thereby forfeit his membership.

2. Each member is to pay 4d. per week to the fund of the society, the company also contributing a weekly sum for each member.

3. Any member leaving the service of his own accord, or being dismissed from the employment of the Grand Canal Company, or struck off the list of subscribers by the committee as a defaulter, will have no claim on the society's fund on account of past contributions.

4. The claims upon the benefit fund for sick and mortality allowance shall be as follows:—

Sick Allowances.

(a) A member who shall send in a claim accompanied by a medical certificate within three days after he is unable to work may, if the committee is satisfied, receive allowance from the date of the certificate. In the case of a member leaving sick in the country, he must also, within three days, forward a certificate from the company's agent at the station where he left, stating that he was unable to proceed with his boat. During a period not exceeding three months of 10s. 9d. per week; during a further period, not exceeding a second three months, of 6s. per week; and during any further period, not exceeding a third three months, of 5s. per week.

Mortality Allowances.

(b) Payment not exceeding £5 payable to the widow or mother, or children, or caretaker of the children, or if the committee may think fit, to the unmarried sisters or other next-of-kin dependent on the deceased. The payment of this gratuity being left entirely to the option of the committee.

(c) Payment of 50s. towards the funeral expenses of the wife of a member, or of his child if over ten years of age, and if younger 30s.

(d) Payment of 50s. towards the funeral expenses of the father or mother of any unmarried member of the society.


10. A committee of management shall be formed, three of whom may be elected annually by the members of the society out of their number, two to represent the interests of the canal and Barrow men, and one the Shannon men, and three officials of the company.

11. This committee of six shall have the regulation of the affairs of the society, and shall meet at least once a year, in the month of January, to inspect the accounts and balance sheet of the society for the previous year, and frame or amend the rules when requisite; the accounts to be previously audited and certified by two members of the committee. At this meeting the names of the members of the committee elected, as per Rule 10, for the current year shall be declared. Three to form a quorum. In case of an equal division, the chairman to have a casting vote.

12. Cheques may be drawn on the bank account by two members of the committee, for payment of the society's liabilities as required. The accounts book to be checked by the auditors every three months.

13. The subscriptions to the fund shall be lodged regularly to the credit of the society, the trustees to be the Grand Canal Company.

14. The books of the society will be open to the inspection of any member of the committee or at the signed request of any seven members of the society.

The society was not registered or incorporated under any Act.

On January 11th, 1893, the committee of the society resolved that, as the directors of the company had stated that the company's subscription to the...

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9 cases
  • Feeney and Shannon v.MacManus and Others
    • Ireland
    • High Court (Irish Free State)
    • 1 December 1937
    ...of the club at the time of its dissolution and the personal representatives of those who had died since that date. Tierneyv. Tough, [1914) 1 I. R. 142, applied. The date of dissolution was fixed as April 26th, 1916, the date upon which the fire first broke out in the General Post Office, th......
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    ...of an unregistered friendly society. 11.3 O'Connor M.R. was critical of the application of the law of resulting trusts to such cases in Tierney v. Tough [1914] 1 I.R. 142. Tierney also concerned the dissolution of a friendly society. Although the Court preferred to analyse the case in contr......
  • Hanchett-Stamford v Attorney General and Others
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    ...any case in which property is held on a joint tenancy in equity produces a tontine effect, even if that is not its purpose. 43 In Tierney v Tough [1914] 1 I.R. 142 the Court of Appeal in Ireland considered the case of an unincorporated association. O'Connor MR said: “The conclusion which I ......
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