Finance and Economics Committee v Bastion Offshore Trust Company Ltd

JurisdictionJersey
CourtCourt of Appeal
JudgeLe Quesne, Neill and Frossard, JJ.A.:
Judgment Date09 October 1991
Date09 October 1991
COURT OF APPEAL
Le Quesne, Neill and Frossard, JJ.A.:

Miss S.C. Nicolle, Crown Advocate, for the appellant;

W. J. Bailhache for the respondent.

Cases cited:

(1) Cherub Invs. Ltd. v. Channel Islands Aero Club (Guernsey) Ltd., Guernsey Court of Appeal, January 13th, 1982, unreported.

(2) Gléyo v. Housing Cttee. (1960), 253 Ex. 46; 1959-61 T.D. 16, unreported, considered.

(3) Johnson v. Natural Beauties Cttee. (1958), 251 Ex. 133; 1951-58 T.D. 26, 183, unreported, considered.

(4) R. v. Westminster Assessment Cttee., ex p. London & Provncl. Victuallers Ltd., [1917] 2 K.B. 215; (1917), 116 L.T. 641; 86 L.J.K.B. 1161; sub nom. R. v. Islington Assessment Cttee., 61 Sol. Jo. 299; on appeal, sub nom. Royal Agricultural Hall Co. Ltd. v. Islington Assessment Cttee., [1918] A.C. 525; (1918), 119 L.T. 165; 87 L.J.K.B. 793; 62 Sol. Jo. 547, considered.

Additional cases cited by counsel:

Arbaugh (née Ogden) v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1968 J.J. 593.

Lampaert, In re, 1990 JLR 290.

Robin Elec. Lamp. Co. Ltd., In re, [1914] 2 Ch. 461.

Legislation construed:

Regulation of Undertakings and Development (Jersey) Law 1973, art. 1(1): The relevant terms of this paragraph are set out at page 374, lines 19-22.

art. 2: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 374, lines 24-35.

art. 4: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 374, lines 36-38.

art. 5: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page 374, lines 39-44; page 375, lines 3-26.

Royal Court Rules 1982 (R. & O. 7026), r.6/1: The relevant terms of this rule are set out at page 379, lines 36-39.

r.6/14(1): The relevant terms of this rule are set out at page 378, lines 37-41.

r.11/2: The relevant terms of this rule are set out at page 377, lines 29-35.

r.11/3: The relevant terms of this rule are set out at page 377, line 38 - page 378, line 16.

r.11/4: The relevant terms of this rule are set out at page 378, lines 18-21.

Supreme Court Act 1981, s.151(1): The relevant terms of this section are set out at page 380, lines 43-44.

Texts cited:

Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed., vol. 37, para. 14, at 23; para. 17, at 24.

Jacob, The Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court, 23 Current Legal Problems, at 50 (1970).

Mason, Twelve years of administrative review in Australia, 16 Commonwealth Law Bulletin, at 1011 (1990).

Administrative Law—Committees of States—appeals—court may order further and better particulars of Committee's case under Royal Court Rules 1982, r.6/14(1), since "written proceeding" and "action" within that rule—rule of wide general application, applicable to administrative appeals under Part 11 of the Rules—Part 11 not self-contained code separate from rest of Rules

Administrative Law—Committees of States—appeals—Royal Court has inherent jurisdiction to order pleadings and other written contentions, including Committee's case, to be particularized or clarified—jurisdiction parallel to rules of court and not displaced by them

Administrative Law—Committees of States—appeals—appellant to know basis and reasoning for Committee's decision against him—entitlement not to be subordinated to procedural rules, since in interests of justice and for convenience of court that full explanation of issues available

The respondent appealed to the Royal Court against the appellant Committee's decision not to grant it a licence to commence a new business undertaking.

The respondent was a newly-formed company concerned with trust and company administration, which its proprietor intended would operate from the same premises as his existing firm of advocates. The company applied for a licence to carry on the new undertaking pursuant to art. 2(1) of the Regulation of Undertakings and Development (Jersey) Law 1973 and the Finance and Economics Committee, the present appellant, refused the application on the ground that the proposed undertaking was not in the Island's best interests, although it was prepared to allow an increase in the number of staff employed in the firm of advocates on the basis that the work of the new company was in effect incidental to that of the firm.

The respondent appealed to the Royal Court against the appellant's refusal to grant a licence under art. 5(5) of the 1973 Law and adopted the procedure for doing so set out in Part 11 of the Royal Court Rules 1982, which regulated the conduct of administrative appeals. The appellant subsequently sent to the respondent details of its case (the "Committee's case") pursuant to r.11/3(6) of the Rules, after which the respondent sought further and better particulars of the Committee's case under r.6/14(1), which was in Part 6 of the Rules and allowed the court to order "a further and better statement of the nature of the claim or defence in any action, or further and better particulars of any matter stated in any pleading or written proceeding requiring particulars" if appropriate; alternatively, the respondent sought such particulars under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

The Judicial Greffier refused to order the granting of particulars on the ground that Part 11 of the 1982 Rules was a self-contained code governing administrative appeals to which neither the provisions of Part 6 nor the court's inherent jurisdiction were relevant. On appeal, the Royal Court (Crill, Bailiff) reversed the Greffier's decision, holding that (a) Parts 6 and 11 of the Rules were not mutually exclusive and accordingly r.6/14(1) could be applied to the Committee's case; and (b) whilst not a "pleading" or within the words "defence in any action" in r.6/14(1), the Committee's case was a "written proceeding" within that paragraph and further and better particulars could accordingly be ordered.

On appeal from this decision, the Committee submitted that (a) Part 11 was a self-contained code separate from the rest of the 1982 Rules and further and better particulars (for which there was no provision in Part 11) could not therefore be ordered under r.6/14(1); (b) in any case, the present proceedings were not an "action" for the purposes of Part 6; and (c) the court should not exercise its inherent jurisdiction in the absence of specific rules of procedure.

The respondent submitted in reply that (a) r.6/1 of the 1982 Rules (which excluded certain sorts of proceedings from the operation of Part 6) did not specifically say that the Part should not apply to administrative appeals and in the absence of specific provision for further and better particulars in Part 11, they should be ordered under r.6/14(1); (b) the Committee's case was a "written proceeding" within the meaning of that rule; and (c) in any case, the court had an inherent jurisdiction to order further and better particulars of any pleading or other written matter in the nature of pleadings, both for the convenience of the court and because it was desirable in the interests of justice that comprehensive reasons for a Committee's decision should be given to a party who had been adversely affected and wished to appeal.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) It was clear that further and better particulars of the Committee's case could be ordered, since it was a "written proceeding" within r.6/14(1) of the Rules, which was widely drafted and which should be applied to any documents that could properly be brought within its scope. Moreover, it appeared that Part 6 of the Rules, governing procedure and pleadings generally, was intended to apply wherever it made sense to do so, including in administrative appeals under Part 11 (which was not a self-contained code), particularly since such appeals were not among those proceedings specifically excluded from the operation of Part 6 by r.6/1. This was so notwithstanding that much of Part 6 was in any case inapplicable to administrative appeals but those Rules in Part 6 that referred to "actions" could apply if of relevance to Part 11; whilst not an appeal in the ordinary sense of an appeal from one court to another higher one, an administrative appeal nevertheless amounted to a claim by an applicant that a decision against him was wrong—in effect an "action" within the meaning of those rules (page 379, lines 34-45; page 380, line 23 - page 381, line 30).

(2) Furthermore, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, the Royal Court had the power to order documents in the nature of pleadings and other written contentions provided for its use to be particularized or clarified; this included the Committee's case. This power existed alongside any rules of court giving the identical or a similar power, and was not displaced by them (page 381, lines 31-42; page 382, line 33 - page 383, line 20).

(3) Lastly, there was a strong policy in the Island that a person wanting to appeal against an administrative decision was entitled to know the basis upon which that decision had been made and the reasoning by which it had been arrived at (although the Committee should not be expected to give lengthy...

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