RAILWAY LAW INTELLIGENCE.
EXCHEQUER CHAMBER. Monday, Dec. 4.
[Before Mr. Baron Parke and the Judges of the Common Pleas and Barons of Exchequer, on errors from the Court of Queen's Bench.]
The Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company v. Lees.
This case arose under the Land Clauses Consolidation Act (8 & 9 Vict., c. 18, sec. 68), and the error was on the ruling of Mr. Baron Rolfe at the trial of the case, supported by the judgment of the Queen's Bench. The plaintiffs in error, under the powers conferred by their Act of Incorporation, took certain land at Ashton-under-Lyne in which Mr. Lees, the defendant, had a reversionary interest in fee. The ground of action was, that the defendants had not made satisfaction for the property taken, and that they had injuriously affected and damaged the remainder of his land. The defendants put in several pleas, but the defence was substantially a general negation, and an assertion that they had made satisfaction under the Land Clauses Consolidation Act. It appeared that a portion of the property was devised to Messrs. Booth and Hilton, under a 14 years' lease, and four cottages were let to weekly tenants. It was stated in evidence, that in the month of February the Company gave Mr. Lees notice of their intention to purchase a portion of the property for their works, and in March an application was made to him to allow them to take possession. On the 14th of March Mr. Lees replied that as soon as his claims were satisfied he should give up the land. Subsequently, he stated that, on second thoughts some doubts had arisen in his mind as to the rights of his tenants, but he added that they should have possession, so far as he could legally give it, on payment of £5,000. Thereupon the Company proceeded, under the provision of the Act, and gave the requisite notices on the 15th of May. A Mr. Bellhouse, of Manchester, was appointed valuator, and returned an estimate of £2,591 7s. as the value of the land required, and for the injury done to the remainder of the property by the severance. On the 16th that sum was paid into the Court of Chancery by the Company, and on the 21st a bond was granted to Mr. Lees, as provided by the 85th section of the Act. On the 18th a similar bond was granted as respected the tenants. On the 25th of May the first works of the Company were commenced on the land. In a bill of exceptions tendered the chief points were that as the land had not been taken possession of on the 15th of May, the lands were not injured and damaged by the defendants, and that the valuation and payment into Chancery were within the meaning of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act. These points were overruled.
Mr. Martin, in support of the error, contended that the lands were not taken before the 15th of May, the date of the notice under the Act; that there was no evidence of injurious effect or damage by the execution of the works before that date; that the payment into court was a satisfaction within the meaning of the Act, and that the learned judge was wrong in leaving to the jury the question of injurious effect. The learned counsel was proceeding with his argument, when it was suggested that the case should be postponed till next term, in order to allow the parties an opportunity to come to an amicable settlement of the question. The suggestion was adopted, and the case postponed accordingly.