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These cases are from the lawindexpro database. They are now being transferred to the swarb.co.uk website in a better form. As a case is published there, an entry here will link to it. The swarb.co.uk site includes many later cases.
Local Government - From: 1900 To: 1929
This page lists 12 cases, and was prepared on 11 October 2015.Nash -v- Finlay (1902) 85 LT 682
Lord Alverstone CJ , Darling J, Channell J
The court considered the validity a byelaw. It was challenged for being unclear. It provided that: "No person shall wilfully annoy passengers in the streets." Other byelaws in the same instrument proscribed more specific forms of "annoyance". Held: The byelaw was invalid for uncertainty. Lord Alverstone CJ said that: ". . the byelaws have endeavoured to deal with specific annoyances, and, that being so, it is difficult to understand what this particular byelaw was intended to cover that is not within the ambit of the others. I therefore think that this byelaw is not valid."
Channell J said: "I think we must be understood to base our decision on the want of certainty in this byelaw . . in my opinion it does not give an adequate intimation of what it is that it intends to prohibit."
Marginson -v- Tildsley (1903) 67 JP 226
Attorney General -v- De Winton  2 Ch 106;  75 LJ Ch 612; (1906) 70 JP 368; (1906) 54 WR 499;  22 TLR 446;  50 Sol Jo 405;  4 LGR 549
The Borough operated using all its borrowing powers. Its accounts were conducted in the name of its treasurer. The accounts were properly audited. A burgess complained at the payment of the interest on the loan accounts to the treasurer for payment to the banks. Held: That the accounts had been audited did not stay such an action. There was nothing in the Act to make th eaudit binding on the Burgesses.
Municipal Corporations Act 1882
St Ives Corporation -v- Wadsworth  Knight's Local Government Reports 306; (1908) 72 JP 73; (1908) 6 LGR 306
Swinfen Eady J
Local Government, Land
A piece of land bordered by a river a bridge and a highway was fenced off by the highway authority. The defendant had used the land as part of his adjoining house and land. The plaintiffs sought clarification that they could remove the fence as they wished. Held: On the facts, the land had been part of an ancient highway and must remain as such. Swinfen Eady J said "The question for decision has reference to a small piece of land in the corner between a bridge over the River Ouse and the defendant's house. The plaintiff's allege that the land is part of an ancient highway, and forms part of the highway today. The defendant claims it as his own property not through his father from whom he derives the house, but solely by title gained by possession for 12 years."
Stourcliffe Estates Co Ltd -v- Bournemouth Corporation  2 Ch 12
Attorney General -v- Lewes Corporation  2 Ch 495
Swinfen Eady J
Utilities, Local Government
The local authority was accused of discharging crude sewage into an intermittent partially tidal stream. Held: Swinfen Eady J said: "The question then arises, is the culvert a sewer? The plaintiffs contend it is. The defendants dispute it. The mere pollution of a natural stream or watercourse by turning sewage into it does not convert it into a sewer. On the other hand, if the watercourse has become substantially a sewer, the fact that at certain periods of the year clean water flows into it will not in my opinion prevent it from being a sewer. The question is one of fact and degree in each case. See Falconar v. South Shields Corporation (1895) 11 TLR 223. In that case Lindley L.J. pointed out that the stream had changed its character completely and had become a sewer in the ordinary sense of the word, i.e., a channel for the reception and carrying away of sewage. It was a dirty, filthy sewer."
Trustees of the Harbour of Dundee -v- D & J Nicol  AC 550;  UKHL 4; 1915 SC (HL) 7; (1914) 2 SLT 418
10 Dec 1914
Local Government, Scotland
The pursuers challenged an initiative by the defenders which allegedly harmed their local steamer excursion business. The House was asked whether steamers acquired by a statutory body of harbour trustees who maintained a service of steamers for ferry traffic could be let out by them on hire for excursion trips beyond the ferry limits. Held: Lord Dunedin emphasised that: "'Incidental,' in my view, means incidental to the main purposes of the main business."
He continued: "By the law of Scotland a litigant, and in particular a pursuer, must always qualify title and interest. Though the phrase 'title to sue' has been a heading under which cases have been collected from at least the time of Morison's Dictionary and Brown's Synopsis, I am not aware that anyone of authority has risked a definition of what constitutes title to sue. I am not disposed to do so, but I think it may fairly be said that for a person to have such title he must be a party (using the word in its widest sense) to some legal relation which gives him some right which the person against whom he raises the action either infringes or denies. . . If any persons are in such a relation as to constitute them trustees, or if, without being technically trustees, they have a fiduciary duty to others, those persons to whom they owe a fiduciary duty will have a title to sue to prevent the infringement of that duty." and "when I find that the respondents in the capacity of harbour ratepayers are members of the constituency erected by the Act of Parliament to elect the trustees, and as such are also persons for whose benefit the harbour is kept up, I cannot doubt that they have a title to prevent an ultra vires act of the appellants, which ultra vires act directly affects the property under their care. It is not only that loss of that property through improper acting may have the effect of imposing heavier rates on the respondents in the future, but in the words of Lord Johnston in the Stirling County Council case, as they have contributed to the funds which bought the property, 'they have an interest in the administration of a . . fund to which they have contributed', and a title flowing from that position and interest."
[ Bailii ]
Bradford Corporation -v- Myers; HL 1916 -  1 AC 242
Nash -v- Rochford Rural District Council  1 KB 384
Warrington LJ, Scrutton LJ
Local Government, Negligence
A claim was made against the local highway authority for personal injury resulting from the defective construction of a highway drain. The plaintiff failed to prove that the defendant highway authority had been responsible for the construction of the drain in question, but did satisfy the court of first instance that the drain had been constructed by the defendant's predecessors in title and that their liability passed to the defendant by virtue of section 25 of the 1894 Act which transferred all rights and liabilities of the previous highway authorities. Held: "liability" within the meaning of section 25 of the 1894 Act was limited to liabilities that have already accrued at the time of transfer, as opposed to "potential or contingent" liabilities. However the latter alternative would be inconsistent with the doctrine that highway authorities are not responsible for nonfeasance and that it was strongly influenced by this consideration. Warrington LJ: "Would the provisions of the Act of 1894 render the district council liable for the consequences of the negligent act of the surveyor? To so hold would, I think, be inconsistent with the doctrine now well established that a highway authority is responsible for misfeasance only, and though of course it is competent to Parliament to abolish that doctrine altogether, or to make it inapplicable where the act of misfeasance is that of a preceding authority, I do not think one ought to hold that such a result has happened unless the words are clear. In the present case I cannot find either in s.25 or in the definition in s.100 any sufficient intention to pass on the responsibility for a wrongful act not their own and by itself affording no cause of action. The preceding authority was not in fact under any liability inasmuch as the damage essential to the existence of liability had not arisen."
Local Government Act 1894 25
Attorney-General -v- Fulham Corporation  1 Ch 440;  90 LJ Ch 281;  125 LT 14;  85 JP 213;  37 TLR 156;  65 Sol Jo 174;  19 LGR 441
The corporation ran a wash house allowing users to attend and to wash their clothes. It introduced a new scheme under which a user would purchase a wash bag, fill it with clothes and leave it to be washed by corporation employees. This scheme was challenged. Held: The new scheme fell without the scheme authorised by the 1846 Act and was unlawful. The corporation, a statutory body, was to be restrained from acting outside its powers.
Baths and Warehouses Act 1846 - London Government Act 1899
Sheppard -v- Glossop Corporation  3 KB 132
Roberts -v- Hopwood; HL 1925 -  AC 578;  All ER 24
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