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

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeHamon, Commr. and Jurats Coutanche and Hamon:
Judgment Date14 December 1994
Date14 December 1994
Hamon, Commr. and Jurats Coutanche and Hamon:

G.R. Boxall for the plaintiffs;

Miss S.C. Nicolle, Solicitor General, for the States.

Cases cited:

(1) Associated Provncl. Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corp., [1948] 1 K.B. 223; [1947] 2 All E.R. 680; [1948] L.J.R. 190; (1947), 177 L.T. 641; 63 T.L.R. 623; 45 L.G.R. 635; 112 J.P. 55; 92 Sol. Jo. 26, applied.

(2) Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for Civil Service, [1985] A.C. 374; [1984] 1 W.L.R. 1174; [1984] 3 All E.R. 935; [1985] I.C.R. 14; (1984), 128 Sol. Jo. 837; sub nom. R. v. Foreign & Commonwealth Secy., ex p. Council of Civil Service Unions, [1985] I.R.L.R. 28, dicta of Lord Diplock considered.

(3) Esdell Caravan Parks Ltd. v. Hemel Hempstead R.D.C., [1966] 1 Q.B. 895; [1965] 3 All E.R. 737; (1965), 18 P. & C.R. 200; 64 L.G.R. 1; 130 J.P. 66; 109 Sol. Jo. 901, applied.

(4) Guillard v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1969 J.J. 1225, considered.

(5) Habin v. Gambling Licensing Auth., 1971 J.J. 1637, followed.

(6) Hanks v. Minister of Housing & Local Govt., [1963] 1 Q.B. 999; [1963] 1 All E.R. 47; (1962), 15 P. & C.R. 246; 61 L.G.R. 76; 127 J.P. 78; 106 Sol. Jo. 1032, applied.

(7) Le Masurier v. Natural Beauties Cttee. (1958), 13 C.R. 138; 1951-58 T.D. 25, 182, unreported, followed.

(8) McMahon, In re, 1993 JLR 35; on appeal, sub nom. McMahon v. Att. Gen., 1993 JLR 108, considered.

(9) Minister for Aboriginal Affairs v. Peko-Wallsend Ltd., [1987] LRC (Const) 822; (1986), 66 Aust. L.R. 299; 60 ALJR 560, considered.

(10) Nottinghamshire C.C. v. Environment Secy., [1986] A.C. 240; [1986] 1 All E.R. 199; (1985), 84 L.G.R. 305; sub nom. R. v. Environment Secy., ex p. Bradford Metropolitan City Council, 130 Sol. Jo. 36, considered.

(11) Pyx Granite Co. Ltd. v. Ministry of Housing & Local Govt., [1958] 1 Q.B. 554; [1958] 1 All E.R. 625; (1958), 9 P. & C.R. 204; 56 L.G.R. 171; 122 J.P. 182; 102 Sol. Jo. 175; on appeal, [1960] A.C. 260; [1959] 3 All E.R. 1; (1959), 10 P. & C.R. 319; 58 L.G.R. 1; 123 J.P. 429; 103 Sol. Jo. 736, applied.

(12) R. v. Brixton Prison (Governor), ex p. Soblen, [1963] 2 Q.B. 243; [1962] 3 All E.R. 641; (1962), 106 Sol. Jo. 736, dicta of Lord Denning, M.R. applied.

(13) R. v. Inner London Education Auth., ex p. Westminster City Council, [1986] 1 W.L.R. 28; [1986] 1 All E.R. 19; (1984), 84 L.G.R. 120; 130 Sol. Jo. 51.

(14) 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.

(15) R. v. Tower Hamlets London B.C., ex p. Chetnik Devs. Ltd., [1988] A.C. 858; [1988] R.A. 45; (1988), 86 L.G.R. 321; 28 E.G. 69; 132 Sol. Jo. 462; sub nom. Tower Hamlets London B.C. v. Chetnik Devs. Ltd., [1988] 1 All E.R. 961, dicta of Lord Bridge considered.

(16) Tunbridge v. States Greffier (1953), 248 Ex. 161; 1951-58 T.D. 60, unreported, considered.

(17) Westminster (Mayor, &c.) v. London & North Western Ry. Co., [1905] A.C. 426; (1905), 93 L.T. 143; 21 T.L.R. 686; 3 L.G.R. 1120; 54 W.R. 129; sub nom. Westminster Corp. v. London & North-W. Ry., 74 L.J. Ch. 629, applied.

Additional cases cited by counsel:

Howard v. Environment Secy., [1972] 3 All E.R. 310.

London & Clydeside Estates Ltd. v. Aberdeen D.C., [1979] 3 All E.R. 876.

Organon Laboratories Ltd. v. D.H.S.S., [1990] 2 C.M.L.R. 49.

Patchett v. Leathem (1948), 65 T.L.R. 69.

R. v. Lewisham London B.C., ex p. Shell UK Ltd., [1988] 1 All E.R. 938.

R. v. Pontypool Gaming Licence Cttee., ex p. Risca Cinemas Ltd., [1970] 3 All E.R. 241.

R. v. Sheer Metalcraft Ltd., [1954] 1 Q.B. 586.

Simpson v. Att. Gen., [1955] N.Z.L.R. 271.

Tett v. States, 1972 J.J. 2249.

Wheeler v. Leicester City Council, [1985] A.C. 1054.

Legislation construed:

Code of 1771, I-III Recueil des Lois 1771-1881 (1969 ed.), Preamble, at 1: The relevant terms of this Preamble are set out at page 349, lines 14-39.

Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure) (Jersey) Law 1961, art. 3: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 353, lines 11-17.

Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art 4: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 351, lines 36-40.

Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (R. & O. 4858), O.17A, as added by the Amendment (No. 2) to the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey (R. & O. 5531), O.1(1): The relevant terms of this order are set out at page 367, lines 23-26.

States of Jersey Law 1966, art. 23: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 349, lines 8-9.

Texts cited:

Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed., vol. 1 (Original Issue), para. 25, at 27-28.

Supperstone & Goudie, Judicial Review, at 112-113; at 116; at 127 (1992).

Wade, Administrative Law, 6th ed., at 436 (1988).

Administrative Law—judicial review—States of Jersey—administrative decision of States reviewable—when reviewing decision to purchase property compulsorily under Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 4, as amended, court to consider (a) whether proceedings sufficient and satisfactory; (b) whether States had regard to proper matters; and (c) whether decision reasonable in circumstances

Housing—compulsory purchase—proper purposes—under Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 4(1), States to consider suitability of property to be compulsorily purchased for housing Island's inhabitants—planning matters, e.g. removing eyesore, not to be considered but no sharp distinction between housing and planning matters—applicant for judicial review to show improper matters materially affected decision

Administrative Law—judicial review—States of Jersey—States' debate leading to vote to purchase property compulsorily not coherent statement of reasons for decision providing basis for judicial review, since vote based on varying and partly unascertainable opinions of Members

Housing—compulsory purchase—approval of plan—States' decision to purchase property compulsorily under Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, art. 4 not vitiated by failure to approve plan contrary to Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure) (Jersey) Law 1961, art. 3 if no prejudice caused—purpose of plan only to assist Members to identify property

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

The plaintiffs 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 on the ground that there was no approved development plan. In the absence of any development the Housing Committee, seeking property which the defendant, the States, could purchase to alleviate the housing shortage, placed before the States a proposition that they should purchase the property compulsorily under art. 4 of the Housing (Jersey) Law 1949, as amended.

Under art. 4, any such purchase had to be made in accordance with the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure) (Jersey) Law 1961 which, by art. 3, provided, inter alia, that no land could be compulsorily purchased unless a plan showing the land had first been approved by the States. Under the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey, any proposition put before the States to be debated had to be lodged with the States Greffier for circulation to its Members a specified amount of time in advance of the debate.

In the present case the proposition, which specified the address of the plaintiffs' property, was circulated in due time but did not have attached to it a plan showing its location; such a plan was, however, circulated to Members out of time but still in advance of the debate and it appeared that no Member had complained of the procedure adopted. During the debate, several Members voiced their opinions regarding the proposed purchase, the dilapidated nature of the property and the housing shortage generally and the States voted in favour of purchasing the property.

The plaintiffs sought judicial review of the States' decision and on the preliminary issue of 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 the ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeal (Le Quesne, Neill and Southwell, JJ.A.) in proceedings reported at 1994 JLR 245.

The plaintiffs submitted that (a) since by art. 4 of the Housing (Jersey) Law 1949 the power of compulsory purchase was exercisable by the States, the States had in effect delegated this power to themselves; they had therefore acted as an executive body in making their decision, which was accordingly amenable to judicial review; (b) the decision was ultra vires since, under art. 4, the States had to consider the need to house the inhabitants of the Island whereas in fact they had been concerned to improve the property because they believed it to be an eyesore; this was a planning and not a housing matter and accordingly an unlawful consideration under art. 4; (c) in reviewing the States' decision, the court should have regard not only to the Housing Committee's proposition but also the evidence of the debate, which had led to the decision and which had included discussion of such unlawful considerations; and (d) in any case, the requirements of art. 3 of the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure) (Jersey) Law 1961 had not been complied with in that the plan of the plaintiffs' property had not been part of the proposition and could not therefore be said to have been approved by the States; the process had therefore been so fatally flawed that the decision was vitiated.

The States submitted in reply that (a) although they had indeed been acting in an executive and not a legislative capacity, their decision to purchase the plaintiffs' property was not reviewable in principle and review was in any case impracticable since the only material capable of being reviewed...

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