Safeguard Business Systems (C.I.) Ltd (Trading as B.H. Rowland) v Finance & Economics Committee

JurisdictionJersey
CourtRoyal Court
Judge(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats Bailhache and Vint):
Judgment Date04 July 1981
Date04 July 1981
ROYAL COURT
(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats Bailhache and Vint):

J.A. Clyde-Smith for the appellant;

H.M. Attorney General for the respondent.

Administrative Law—judicial review—review of discretionary powers—court reluctant to imply limits on broad discretionary power with substantial policy content, e.g. by restricting range of factors authority has regard to

Administrative Law—judicial review—review of discretionary powers—court to consider whether proceedings before committee generally satisfactory, whether committee legally entitled to make decisions and whether could be reasonably reached in circumstances—immaterial that court itself would have reached different decision

Communications—post—private postal service—licence for private postal service refused under Regulation of Undertakings and Development (Jersey) Law 1973, since would adversely affect States' revenues and taxation of new service may not offset loss

EREAUT, BAILIFF: In September, 1977, the Appellant applied to the Committee in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation of Undertakings and Development (Jersey) Law, 1973, as amended, (hereinafter called "the Law"), for a licence to establish a Central Collection Office at No. 18, Hill Street, St. Helier. After an exchange of correspondence, the Committee refused to grant a licence for that purpose. The Appellant now appeals against that decision.

The appeal is brought under Article 5(5) of the Law, which provides—

"(5) Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Committee to refuse the grant of a licence or by any condition attached to the licence, may appeal, either in term or in vacation, to the Royal Court within two months of the date of the notification of the Committee in the matter, on the ground that the decision of the Committee was unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case."

As this is the first appeal under the Law, our first task is to decide how we should approach our consideration of this appeal. The Attorney General submitted that we should adopt the same approach as had been adopted by the Royal Court in considering appeals from decisions of Committees of the States under other enactments, and we now examine that approach.

The relevant provisions of Article 12 of the Housing (Jersey) Law 1949 state—

"(1) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the Committee to grant consent to any transaction to which this part of this Law applies or by any conditions attached to any such consent may appeal to the Court against the decision of the Committee within one month after the date on which notice of such decision was sent to him.

"(2) On any such appeal, the Court may either dismiss the appeal or may give to the Committee such directions in the matter as it considers proper and the Committee shall comply with such direction."

In Associated Builders& Contractors Ltd. v. Housing Cttee., 1965 J.J. 479, the Court said, at page 482—

"The interpretation which the Court has, on more than one occasion, placed upon that Article is that it does not have full effect to substitute the Court for the Committee and, in our opinion, that interpretation is correct. The opinion of the Court on any particular application can be no more valid than that of the Committee; indeed, it is likely to be less so because, unlike the Committee, the Court is without the information necessary to the formulation of an opinion.

That which the Article empowers the Court to do is to examine the way in which the Committee deals with applications and the reasons which have motivated its decisions and to determine whether the Committee has acted regularly and reached a decision for reasons which are tenable."

In Cottignies v. Housing Cttee., 1969 J.J. 1149, the Court considered the above proposition and said, at page 1154—

"We remain of the opinion that the proposition is right. That is not to say that the way in which the Committee has exercised its discretion cannot be the subject of an appeal; by the terms of Article 12 it can. What the Court in previous cases has said is that it cannot interfere unless it can be shown that the discretion was exercised in consequence of an erroneous view of the law, or an obvious mistake of fact, or by taking into account irrelevant matters, or by failing to take into account relevant matters, or because it did not accord to commonsense and justice."

Article 12 makes no reference to the decision of the Committee being "unreasonable". However, the relevant appeal provisions in the Preservation of Amenities (Jersey) Law, 1952, and in the Island Planning (Jersey) Law, 1964, which superseded it and which are identical, provide that persons aggrieved by refusals of permission may appeal to the Court—

"on the ground that the decision of the Committee was unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case."

That provision, which is identical with the corresponding provision in Article 5(5) of the Law, was considered by the Superior Number of the Royal Court in Le Masurier v. Natural Beauties Cttee. (1958), 13 C.R. 138, with the following effect:

"The Court has unanimously judged its...

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5 cases
  • Lesquende Ltd v Planning and Environment Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 17 February 1997
    ...Control Bd. v. Air Secy., [1944] Ch. 114. Rockhold v. Environment Secy., [1986] J.P.L. 130. Rowland (B.H.) v. Finance & Econ. Cttee., 1981 J.J. 169. Rugby Joint Water Bd. v. Foottit, [1973] A.C. 202. Save Britain's Heritage v. No. 1 Poultry Ltd., [1991] 1 W.L.R. 153. Simpson v. Edinburgh Co......
  • Jersey New Waterworks Company Ltd v Grouville Rate Assessment Committee, St. Helier Rate Assessment Committee and Supervisory Committee of The Constables
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 16 June 1994
    ...265; 97 Sol. Jo. 299, applied. (6) Renouf (née Brett) v. Children's Officer, 1968 J.J. 853. (7) Rowland (B.H.) v. Finance & Econ. Cttee., 1981 J.J. 169, considered. Additional cases cited by counsel: Associated Provncl. Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corp., [1947] 2 All E.R. 680. Baker (......
  • Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd v Finance & Economics Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 26 January 1982
    ...the case." This is the second appeal under the Law. In the first appeal under the Law, namely, Rowland (B.H.) v. Finance & Econ. Cttee., 1981 J.J. 169, the Court in its judgment considered at some length the proper approach in the consideration of appeals under the Law, and decided for the ......
  • Anderson v Finance and Economics Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 24 August 1987
    ...Ins. Socy. Ltd. v. Finance & Econ. Cttee., 1982 J.J. 37, applied. (7) Safeguard Business Systems (C.I.) Ltd. v. Finance & Econ. Cttee., 1981 J.J. 169. (8) Scott v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1966 J.J. 631, distinguished. (9) Taylor v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1969 J.J. 1267. Additional case cited by co......
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