Le Gros v Housing Committee of The States

JurisdictionJersey
CourtRoyal Court
Judge(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats de Faye and Coutanche):
Judgment Date08 September 1977
Date08 September 1977
ROYAL COURT
(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats de Faye and Coutanche):

P. de C. Mourant for the plaintiff;

H.M. Attorney General for the defendant.

Planning Law—compulsory purchase—settlement of price by arbitration—burden of proof—no legal burden of proof either on owner or on States—Board of Arbitrators to decide from objective neutral position whether satisfied by evidence or contentions made

Evidence—burden of proof—legal and evidential burdens—legal burden of proof in civil case is overall onus settled by pleadings resting on party who asserts affirmative and who fails in writ if onus not discharged—evidential burden is duty of adducing evidence on particular issue, resting on party who fails on that issue if no evidence (or no further evidence) adduced

EREAUT, BAILIFF: In 1973 the plaintiff was the owner of fields numbered 631 and 632 in the Parish of St. Saviour. By Act of 30th January, 1973, the States resolved to purchase those fields compulsorily for the use of the Housing Committee. Because agreement could not be reached on the proper compensation to be paid to the plaintiff, by Act of the Royal Court of 24th August, 1973, a Board of Arbitrators was constituted under the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Procedure) (Jersey) Law 1961, as amended (hereinafter called "the Law"), to determine that question. Having heard evidence and arguments, on 11th February, 1974, the Board made its award (hereinafter called "the first award").

The plaintiff appealed to the Royal Court against the first award, on the ground that the Board had misdirected itself and had based its conclusion on an erroneous understanding of the legal position and in disregard of facts found by itself to have been established. On 25th September, 1974, the Court gave a written judgment, of which the following extract is relevant:

"The kernel of the appellant's case is that the Board found that there was evidence to support two submissions made by his counsel. This is to say (1) that the land was suitable for development of a lower density even than that of the 'Clifton' site and (2) that the Island Development Committee could reasonably have been expected to approve plans for such a development and that the Board thereafter proceeded to ignore that evidence.

In our view, it is on that narrow point that this appeal succeeds. There is, we think, an error on the face of the record. Once the Board found that there was evidence to support those two submissions it had a duty to evaluate that evidence and to put a value on the probability or the possibility, as the case might be, of low density development being allowed.

Although there was no reason why we should be, we were told what the evidence was. We make no comment on quality of the evidence but it was that had the States not acquired the land compulsorily the land would eventually have become land for the development of which permission would have been given at a density lower than the Housing Committee requirements demanded.

We accordingly remit the case to the Board with a direction to consider the possibility that the land at the time of its acquisition had some potential value as low density building land as well as high density building land and to place a value on that possibility if it finds that it existed."

In compliance with that direction, the Board reconvened to consider the possibility that the land at the time of its acquisition had some potential value as low density building land, and, having heard further evidence and arguments, made its award on 27th March, 1975 (hereinafter called "the second award"). By its second award, the Board decided that there was no such possibility, and therefore confirmed the amount of compensation awarded by its first award.

The plaintiff appealed to the Royal Court against the second award, on the ground that it was again based on a misunderstanding of the legal position, that the Board had misdirected itself, that it had approached its task in a wholly unreasonable manner, and in particular that the conclusion reached by the Board (that there was no possibility that the land had some potential value as low density building land) was so contrary to the weight of the evidence as to amount to a manifest injustice.

During the hearing of the action in August, 1976, the Court drew...

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4 cases
  • Lesquende Ltd v Planning and Environment Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 17 February 1997
    ...Rate Assessment Cttee., 1994 J.J. 197. Jersey Racing Circuits Ltd. v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1966 J.J. 587. Le Gros v. Housing Cttee., 1977 J.J. 59. Le Masurier (C.) Ltd. v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1985-86 JLR 164. Land Securities PLC v. Westminster C.C., [1993] 1 W.L.R. 286. McMahon, In re, 1993 ......
  • Planning Cttee. v Lesquende Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Privy Council
    • 5 January 1998
    ......367; 105 J.P. 223; 85 Sol. Jo. 212. (7) Housing Cttee . v. Phantesie Invs. , 1985-86 JLR 96. (8) Idocare ...Ch. 824; 66 Sol. Jo. 611, considered. (10) Le Gros v. Housing Cttee ., 1974 J.J. 77, considered. (11) Le ... The respondent company owned land which the States sought to purchase on behalf of the public of the Island for the purpose ...The States therefore authorized the appellant Committee to negotiate a price but on the parties' failure to agree, the question ......
  • Lesquende Ltd v Planning and Environment Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 13 March 1996
    ...85 Sol. Jo. 212, dicta of Scott, L.J. considered. (7) Le Gros v. Housing Cttee., 1974 J.J. 77, considered. (8) Le Gros v. Housing Cttee., 1977 J.J. 59, considered. (9) Lord Advocate v. Walker Trustees, [1912] A.C. 95; (1911), 106 L.T. 194; 28 T.L.R. 101; sub nom. Walker Trustees v. Lord Adv......
  • LC Pallot (Tarmac) Ltd v Gechena Ltd
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 11 July 1996
    ...V.-C. followed. (4) Jones (ne Ludlow) v. Jones (No. 2), 1985-86 JLR 40. (5) Le Gros v. Housing Cttee., 1974 J.J. 77; further proceedings, 1977 J.J. 59, considered. (6) Preston v. Preston, [1982] Fam. 17; [1982] 1 All E.R. 41; [1981] FLR 331; (1981), 12 Fam. Law 57; 125 Sol. Jo. 496, conside......

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