Re Holmden’s Settlement Trusts: CA 1966

Lord Denning MR said: ‘I must, however, consider the statement of Lord Upjohn on the footing that it is one of two reasons which he gave for his decision. It is said that both reasons are binding on all courts in the land, including the House of Lords itself. The proposition is said to rest on Jacobs v London County Council: see also Behrens v Bertram Mills Circus Ltd. But I do not think those cases warrant so wide a proposition. It seems to me that if the House of Lords give two reasons for their decision, and the House afterwards finds that one of the reasons was right and the other wrong, then they are entitled to accept the right reason and reject the wrong. The decision is not authority ‘for nothing.’ It is authority for the right reason but not the wrong. I can see no justification whatever for saying they are bound by the wrong reason. Surely the House is not bound to perpetuate error. Nor is this court. I would repeat the wise words of Sir Frederick Pollock, which I quoted in Close v Steel Company of Wales.
‘Judicial authority belongs not to the exact words used in this or that judgment, nor even to all the reasons given, but only to the principles accepted and applied as necessary grounds of the decision.’


Lord Denning MR


[1966] Ch 151


England and Wales

Cited by:

Appeal fromHolmden’s Settlement Trusts, Re Holmden’s Settlement, Re HL 13-Dec-1967
Under the 1968 Act, the court is not in the position of a statutory settlor. Lord Reid described the provisions of the 1958 Act: ‘Under the Variation of Trusts Act the court does not itself amend or vary the trusts of the original settlement. The . .
CitedTotal Network Sl v Customs and Excise Commissioners CA 31-Jan-2007
The defendants suspected a carousel VAT fraud. The defendants appealed a finding that there was a viable cause of action alleging a ‘conspiracy where the unlawful means alleged is a common law offence of cheating the public revenue’. The defendants . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.248358