HC Deb 07 August 1919 vol 119 cc536-7
39. Major BARNETT

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions if he can state the total cost to the country of the unsuccessful litigation conducted by the Liquor Control Board against the Cannon Brewery Company; whether the case in question was heard by one judge in the King's Bench Division, by three in the Court of Appeal, and by four in the House of Lords; whether the decision of all eight judges was unanimously against the Liquor Control Board, with costs; and, if so, what useful purpose has been served by this litigation?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Gordon Hewart)

I have been asked to reply to this question. I am informed that the total estimated amount of the costs and charges referred to is about £3,700. The case was heard originally by a judge of the Chancery Division. In the Court of Appeal it; was heard by three Lords Justices, who were not unanimous. In the House of Lords a unanimous judgment was given against the Liquor Control Board. It was essential that this case should be taken to the House of Lords for the following, among other, reasons: first, because it was repeatedly stated by the Government, in the House of Commons, in 1915, that compensation in cases of this kind would be dealt with by the Royal Commission established for the purpose; and, secondly, because it is not right, unless it be absolutely unavoidable, that different owners should receive different measures of compensation.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is proposed to make any further attempt to override Magna Charta?


Certainly! It is in the Act.


It is not an attempt to override Magna Charta.


Was this not a successful effort on the part of the plaintiffs to get compensation by way of petition of right to secure extra compensation for compulsory acquisition?


The point was that the Brewery Company felt that they were entitled to compensation under the Lands Clauses Act, involving 10 per cent for compulsory sale.