Magistrates of Perth v North British Railway Co: HL 27 Mar 1885

Statute – Statutory Obligation to Perform an Act where no Time of Performance Expressed – Obligation to Perform Act to Satisfaction of Board of Trade – Jurisdiction – North, British Railway Company New Tay Viaduct Act 1881 (44 and 45 Vict. c. cxxxvii.), sec. 21
Section 21 of the North British Railway Company New Tay Viaduct Act, which was obtained by the North British Railway Company for authority to erect a bridge over the Tay higher up the river than that which was blown down in 1879, provided that ‘the company shall abandon and cause to be disused as a railway so much of the North British Railway as lies between the respective points of junction therewith of railway No. 1 and railway No. 2; and shall remove the ruins and debris of the old bridge and all obstructions interfering with the navigation caused by the old bridge, to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade.’ Held ( aff. judgment of Second Division) (1) that there was thereby imposed an absolute obligation to remove the ruins of the former bridge; (2) that the Court of Session had jurisdiction to order implement of it, the reference to the Board of Trade merely pointing to the duty imposed thereon to see that the obligation was properly discharged, and, if necessary, to exercise control over the company’s operations.
Question whether the obligation ran from the passing of the Act.
Observations on the meaning of the expression ‘to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade.’


Lord Chancellor, Lords Watson and Fitzgerald


[1885] UKHL 593, 22 SLR 593






Updated: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.637751