Bank of Scotland v Assessor for Edinburgh: 1890

(Lands Valuation Appeal Court) The court considered the rating applicable where several banks retained nearby properties for the occupation of its staff. There were three categories of residential premises: (i) dwellings which were in buildings separate from the bank’s offices; (ii) dwellings which were under the same roof as the commercial offices with internal communication between them; and (iii) dwellings which were under the same roof but with no internal communication between them, or none that was in use.
Held: In case (i) the dwellings fell to be valued separately while those in cases (ii) and (iii) were unum quid with the commercial offices. Lord Wellwood agreed with him on cases (i) and (ii), but not on case (iii) which he would have directed to be separately valued. However, the underlying principle applied by both judges was the same. They applied the geographical principle, distinguishing cases where the various bank buildings formed a continuous territorial block from cases where they did not. In those cases where the different buildings did not form a continuous territorial block, they could be treated as unum quid only where there was a necessary functional connection between them.
Lord Trayner said: ‘In the case of the Commercial Bank I think the assessor has gone wrong in including the messengers’ houses as part of the bank. These houses form no part of the bank buildings; they are separate houses in the adjoining street, no doubt sufficiently near to the bank to be convenient and suitable for the bank servants, but still no part of the bank buildings, and therefore no part of the unum quid. The assessor in support of the view he has adopted referred to the case of M’Jannet, 10 R 32, but I do not think that that case has any application here. It was decided in that case that the conservatory, stables, and outhouses connected with a dwelling-house were not to be separately valued, but were to be regarded and valued as a unum quid. I agree entirely with that decision. The different parts of the subject to be valued lay together, and were within the one enclosure; they were the different parts which together went to make up the establishment. But although the stables, for example, were held in that case to be part of the residence and to be so valued, it does not follow that stables are in every case to be valued as part of the residence to which they are an accessory. The stables of a gentleman in town are as much a convenience or accessory to his town residence as they are in the case of a country house. They are not, however, valued along with the town residence, although situated in the adjoining street or mews. They are not so connected – as they were in the case of a country mansion or residence – as to make it impossible or difficult to let them separately. In the same way the Commercial Bank could not well retain their bank premises, and let the part thereof devoted to official residence, but they could quite well and conveniently let the messengers’ houses in the street to persons entirely unconnected with the bank. I think these houses therefore should be separately entered and valued in the Valuation-roll.’
Lord Wellwood divided the residential buildings into three categories: ‘First – Those which are entirely detached from the bank buildings, as in the case of the messengers’ houses of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. I agree with Lord Trayner that the yearly value of those houses should be separately entered in the roll.
Second -The houses which form part of the main building, but have no internal communication with the business premises. I am of opinion that the yearly value of those dwelling-houses also should be separately entered. The fact that they form part of the same building with the business premises is not I think in this question material, and was not much relied on by the respondent. Structurally they are self-contained premises, and could be let separately if this were desired. The respondent relied mainly upon the consideration that the houses form necessary adjuncts to the bank premises, and together with them fell to be valued as a unum quid.
Dwelling-houses for bank officials connected with the bank premises are no doubt usual and useful additions to banking premises, but it is not indispensable that they should form part of the bank buildings, as is shewn in the case of the messengers’ houses of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. If, as is sometimes the case, it did not suit any of the officials to reside in the dwelling-houses, they could be let to a tenant with no more danger to the bank than if they were under a different roof. The case seems to me to be precisely the same as that with which we are familiar of the lower flat of a dwelling-house being converted into a shop with a separate entrance. The upper flats may or may not be occupied by the shopkeeper himself as a dwelling-house, but I take it that in any case the dwelling-house and the shop are valued separately.
Third – Dwelling-houses which are connected by internal communication with the business premises. In regard to those I have more doubt. ‘In their actual state’ they are at present connected with the business premises by an internal door of communication, which is used not merely as a convenient short cut by the occupant of the dwelling-house, but also by other bank officials and servants for the purpose of locking the outer door of the bank and other purposes. This means of communication could be easily cut off by building up or even locking the door. But that is not the present state of matters, and the question being doubtful, I am not prepared to differ from the opinion of Lord Trayner and the Valuation Committee as to those dwelling-houses.’


Lord Trayner, Lord Wellwood


(1890) 17 R 839



Cited by:

See AlsoBank of Scotland v Assessor for Edinburgh 1891
(Lands Valuation Appeal Court) The Court considered the appropriate entry for property contiguous with a bank, but with no interconnection, the house being held for the occupation of bank employees.
Held: Lord Wellwood repeated his view that . .
AppliedUniversity of Glasgow v Assessor for Glasgow 1952
(Lands Valuation Appeal Court)
Held: Various buildings of the University which were physically separate from the main buildings, capable of being separately let and dispersed among buildings belonging to other proprietors, were properly . .
CitedMidlothian Assessor v Buccleuch Estates Ltd 1962
(Lands Valuation Appeal Court) The landowner had several parcels of woodland and sawmills. They were on different sites, but worked together as a single business.
Lord Kilbrandon observed: ‘It has never yet been admitted that you can have a . .
CitedWoolway v Mazars SC 29-Jul-2015
The Court was asked how different storeys under common occupation in the same block are to be entered in the rating list for the purpose of non-domestic rating. In this case the firm’s two offices were in the same building, but the connection . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.591250