The Grand Junction Canal Company v Dimes; 1 May 1849

References: [1849] EngR 576, (1849) 12 Beav 63, (1849) 50 ER 984
Links: Commonlii
Ratio:In a suit in which an incorporated company were Plaintiffs, a decree was pronounced by the Vice-Chancellor for England, and was affirmed, on appeal, by the Lord Chancellor. It was afterwards discovered that the Lord Chancellor was a shareholder in the company, and a motion was made to discharge the order of the Lord Chancellor on the ground of his interest in the matter rendering it void.
Held: The Master of the Rolls was of opinion that the motion ought to be refused with costs.
When the Lord Chancellor is a party to a suit, the bill is addressed to the King, and the cause is heard by the Master of the Rolls; but the decree is formally and technically completed, made final, and enrolled as the decree of the King. But where a public company, in which the Lord Chancellor has shares, are suitors, the bill cannot properly be addressed to the Queen in Chancery.
It is a general rule that no one ought to be a judge in his own cause, and no Judge ought, by himself or his deputy, to hear and determine a cause, or make an order, or do any judicial act, in a cause in which he has a personal interest ; but even in a case of disputed interest, a Judge is not incapacitated from making an order, if, by refusing to do so, justice would be denied.
There is not, and cannot, in any case, be an incapacity to make any orderor do any act in a matter within the proper, peculiar and exclusive jurisdiction of a Judge’s office, if such order or act be necessary to prevent a failure of justice. Whatever a Judge’s interest may be, if justice cannot be had, without an act or order of his, he cannot lawfully refuse to do the act, or make the order required. In cases where questions of this kind arise, the Judge must have a certain degree of diseretion, and, having the capacity, his duty does not extend further than the necessity of the case requires ; if there are other Judges having co-ordinate jurisdiction, he may and ought to refuse to act ; but if he, like the Lord Chancellor, should be the sole Judge having jurisdiction in the case it is otherwise.
The signing of a decree of a subordinate Judge by the Lord Chancellor is a judicial act.
This case cites:

  • Appeal from – Dimes -v- The Company of Proprietors of The Grand Junction Canal CExC ([1846] EngR 55, Commonlii, (1846) 9 QB 469, (1846) 115 ER 1353, [1846] EngR 1072, Commonlii, (1846) 15 Sim 402, (1846) 60 ER 675)
    By a local Act of Parliament a company was incorporated and empowered to purchase certain lands ; and all persons seised, possessed of or interested in those lands were empowered to conveyed their right and interest therein to the company, in the . .

(This list may be incomplete)
This case is cited by:

  • See Also – The Grand Junction Canal Company -v- Dimes ([1850] EngR 243, Commonlii, (1850) 2 H & Tw 92, (1850) 47 ER 1610, [1849] EngR 682, Commonlii, (1849) 17 Sim 38, (1849) 60 ER 1041)
    The defendant disputed the right of the plaintiff to use the canal constructed across his land. After he had been ordered to allow the boats to pass, the defendant brought 15 actions in trespass. The company now sought an injunction to restrain . .
  • See Also – The Grand Junction Canal Company -v- Dimes CA ([1850] EngR 242, Commonlii, (1850) 2 Mac & G 285, (1850) 42 ER 110)
    The defendant had been committed for the breach of an injunction which he believed had been unlawfully granted in that the Lord Chancellor, on appeal, had decided in favour of the plaintiff company in which he held shares. The defendant again . .
  • See Also – Dimes -v- Lord Cottenham ([1850] EngR 499 (A), Commonlii, (1850) 5 Exch 311)
    The Court will not, on the application of the plaintiff, grant a trial at bar merely because the defendant is Lord Chancellor and the plaintiff an attorney of the Court. . .
  • See Also – In Re Dimes ([1850] EngR 769, Commonlii, (1850) 3 Mac & G 4, (1850) 42 ER 162)
    The claimant challenged his committal to prison saying that the order was invalid in that although made under an order of the Vice-Chancellor, the warrant had been endorsed with the letters CC.
    Held: Such an endorsement did not mean that the . .
  • See Also – Dimes -v- Proprietors of Grand Junction Canal and others HL ((1852) 3 HL Cas 759, [1852] EngR 789, Commonlii, (1852) 3 HLC 759, (1852) 10 ER 301)
    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Cottenham, owned a substantial shareholding in the defendant canal which was an incorporated body. He sat on appeal from the Vice-Chancellor, whose judgment in favour of the company he affirmed. There was an appeal on the . .
  • See Also – Dimes -v- The Proprietors Of The Grand Junction Canal and Others ([1852] EngR 793, Commonlii, (1852) 3 HLC 794, (1852) 10 ER 315)
    The plaintiff had brought an action to recover land. His appeal failed, but the House later decided that the Lord Chancellor who heard the appeal should have disqualified himself, because he held shareholdings in the defendant company, and his . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 17-Jun-16
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