Glasgow Court-Houses Commissioners v Lanarkshire County: HL 18 Dec 1902

The Glasgow Court-Houses Act 1890 authorised the Glasgow Court-Houses Commissioners to acquire certain lands and buildings for the purpose of enlarging and improving the Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court-Houses in the city of Glasgow. Section 13 provided that the Commissioners might apportion, assess, and charge the sums of money borrowed under the powers of the Act upon certain public bodies named in a schedule annexed to the Act ‘in proportion to the gross valuation for the year ending on the 15th of May 1890 of the lands and heritages situated within the respective areas under the jurisdiction of such public bodies.’ One of the public bodies named in the schedule was the County Council of the county of Lanark.
Section 15 provided that ‘the County Council of Lanark, as representing the Lower Ward thereof and the police burghs therein,’ should pay to the Commissioners out of certain specified assessments such sum ‘as the Commissioners should assess as the share payable by the said County Council’ for the expenses of carrying into effect the Glasgow Court-Houses Acts.
Section 18 gave power to the Commissioners to sell or lease to the County Council, and to the County Council to purchase or take on lease, any portion of the lands and houses in the possession of or to be acquired by the Commissioners; and section 19 empowered the County Council to borrow money for the purposes of such sale or lease upon the security of the general purposes rate leviable upon lands and heritages ‘in the county of Lanark or in the lower ward and middle ward thereof, or in the said lower ward alone, in such proportions and at such respective rates as such County Council may determine, and such County Council may levy such rate at a higher rate or higher rates within the said lower ward and middle ward, or either of them, . . than within the remainder of the county for the purpose of meeting any payment in connection with such sale or lease, or any payments due by them to the Commissioners in respect of the repayment of borrowed money, or otherwise under the provisions of this Act.’
By previous Acts of Parliament the county of Lanark, for the purpose of providing and maintaining Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court-Houses, had been divided into four separate districts, one of which, the Lower Ward district, comprises the Lower Ward of the county, the City of Glasgow, and the Burgh of Rutherglen. The Sheriff Court-House at Glasgow is the Sheriff Court-House of this district alone, except in so far as it is used for hearing appeals from the other districts.
Held (rev. judgment of the Second Division, and restoring judgment of Lord Low, Ordinary) that in fixing the amount for which the Court-Houses Commissioners were entitled to charge and assess the County Council in terms of section 13, the Commissioners were not entitled to take into account the valuation of the lands and heritages within the whole county as being the ‘area under the jurisdiction’ of the County Council in the sense of section 13, but only of the lands and heritages within the Lower Ward.


Lord Chancellor (Halsbury), and Lord Macnaghten, Lord Robertson, and Lord Lindley


[1902] UKHL 191, 40 SLR 191





Local Government

Updated: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.630807