B.F. Burt and H.I. Burt v States

JurisdictionJersey
CourtCourt of Appeal
JudgeLe Quesne, Blom-Cooper and Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, JJ.A.:
Judgment Date17 January 1996
Date17 January 1996
COURT OF APPEAL
Le Quesne, Blom-Cooper and Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, JJ.A.:

G.R. Boxall for the appellants;

Miss S.C. Nicolle, Q.C., Solicitor General, for the respondent.

Case cited:

(1) R. v. London C.C., ex p. London & Provncl. Elec. Theatres Ltd., [1915] 2 K.B. 466; (1915), 113 L.T. 118; 31 T.L.R. 329; 84 L.J.K.B.1787; 59 Sol. Jo. 382, dicta of Pickford, L.J. applied.

Additional cases cited by counsel:

Associated Provncl. Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corp., [1948] 1 K.B. 223.

Aukland City Council v. Minister of Transport, [1990] 1 NZLR 264.

Pepper v. Hart, [1993] A.C. 593.

Pyx Granite Co. Ltd. v. Ministry of Housing & Local Govt., [1958] 1 Q.B. 554.

R. v. Broadcasting Complaints Commn., ex p. Owen, [1985] Q.B. 1153.

R. v. Tower Hamlets London B.C., ex p. Chetnik Devs. Ltd., [1988] A.C. 858.

Legislation construed:

Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 3: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 5, lines 14-17.

art. 4: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 5, lines 18-29.

Text cited:

Law Commission, Administrative Law: Judicial Review & Statutory Appeals (Law Com. No. 226), para. 5.24, at 45; para. 5.25, at 45.

Housingcompulsory purchaseproper purposesunder Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 4, as amended, States to consider suitability of property to be purchased for housing Island's inhabitants, not other, unrelated mattersuse of property for housing rather than leaving in derelict condition not improper consideration

Administrative Lawjudicial reviewStates of Jerseydecision of States not vitiated by speeches in debate addressing illegitimate concerns under Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 4, as amended, if proper considerations taken into account, since do not necessarily represent motivation of States

Administrative Lawjudicial reviewprocedureurgent need for rules governing procedure for judicial review in Jersey

The appellants applied for judicial review of the respondent's decision to purchase their property compulsorily under art. 4 of the Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, as amended.

The appellants owned a dilapidated and uninhabited house in Jersey which they sought to demolish in order to redevelop the site. The Island Development Committee refused permission and in the absence of any development the Housing Committee, seeking property which the States could purchase to alleviate the housing shortage, recommended in a report to the States that they should purchase it compulsorily under art. 4 of the Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, as amended, by which such purchase could be made "to provide for the housing of the inhabitants of the Island. . . ." When the proposition was debated a number of Members spoke of their concern, inter alia, over the dilapidated state of the property and the States voted in favour of the proposition.

The appellants brought the present proceedings for judicial review of the States' decision and on the preliminary issue whether certain evidence of the debate in the States could be admitted, the Royal Court (Hamon, Commr. and Jurats Coutanche and Hamon) held that it could not (1993 JLR 376), but that ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeal (Le Quesne, Neill and Southwell, JJ.A.) (1994 JLR 245). The Royal Court subsequently dismissed the appellants' suit, holding that although the States had been acting in an administrative rather than a legislative capacity and their decision was accordingly amenable to judicial review, they had taken into account the proper considerations and the decision could not be faulted. These proceedings are reported at 1994 JLR 341.

On appeal, the appellants submitted, inter alia, that (a) the respondents' decision was reviewable since the respondent had been acting in an administrative and not a legislative capacity; and (b) on the evidence, including evidence of the debate, the States had been motivated by a desire to improve the condition of the property rather than to provide for the housing of the inhabitants of the Island; they had also failed to consider certain relevant evidence relating to the seriousness of the housing shortage.

The respondent submitted in reply that (a) the decision of the States, a legislative body, was not amenable to judicial review; and (b) however, even if it were amenable to review, in the present case the decision had been based upon the need to house the inhabitants of the Island and there was nothing to vitiate this decision; in particular, the views of those Members who spoke in the debate could not be taken as importing into the decision any unlawful considerations, since their views did not establish the motivation of the States in voting as they had.

The court also considered the nature of the procedure for judicial review applications in Jersey.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) Under art. 4 of the 1949 Law, the power of compulsory purchase was to be used by the States only for the purpose of housing the inhabitants of the Island and in exercising their discretion whether to use that power, the States were acting in an administrative and not a legislative capacity. Both from the report of the Housing Committee and from the proceedings in the States, it was clear that the decision had indeed been made with this in view and with no other, unlawful consideration in mind; in particular, the possibility of improving the dilapidated state of the appellants' property by using it to provide new housing was a proper housing consideration. It was also clear from the evidence that the States had properly had all relevant material before them when making the decision (page 5, lines 30-43; page 8, lines 3-16; page 9, line 20 - page 10, line 13).

(2) Furthermore, it could not be said that the lawfulness of the States' purpose in voting as they did was vitiated by the possibility that the views of some of those Members who spoke during the debate may have included factors that were not proper housing considerations (page 8, line 27 - page 9, line 11).

(3) There was, however, an urgent need in Jersey for the creation of rules to allow the judicial review of administrative decisions to be conducted efficiently and the court recommended that detailed consideration should be given to the making of such rules (page 11, line 9 - page 12, line 3; page 12, lines 8-15).

LE QUESNE, J.A.: This appeal concerns a house known as "Kent Lodge," 21 Clarendon Road. It belonged for some years to a Mr. Roy Filleul Burt. He had to move into a nursing home in 1974, by which time he had already allowed the house to run into very poor condition. When he died in 1981, the house had stood empty since 1974 and naturally its condition had become considerably worse. Under his will, the property passed to a nephew and niece in the United States, who are the appellants now before us. Having inherited the property, they did nothing with it and allowed the process of deterioration to go on...

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