HC Deb 11 December 1928 vol 223 cc1895-6

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the recent decision of the Railway and Canal Commission in the case of Lord Cromwell v. Denaby and Cadeby Collieries, Limited; is he aware that such action has already cost the colliery company, approximately, £10,000 in legal expenses, etc.; and will he take steps to simplify the procedure so that costs may be reduced in future cases?

Commodore KING

I have been asked to answer this question. The case referred to was an application by the colliery company for certain rights and reliefs in respect of the working of coal belonging to Lord Cromwell. I do not know the amount of the costs which the parties incurred, but I can imagine that they were heavy. At the same time, it must be remembered that without the Mines Working Facilities Act a compulsory grant of the rights and reliefs applied for could not have been sought at all; that the issues at stake were very large; that the subject matter was highly technical and difficult to elucidate; and, above all, that the powers which are reposed in the Court are of so important and far-reaching a character that it is essential that a full and competent inquiry shall be held before a grant is made. I see no means whereby either Parliament or the Court could have kept down the costs of this application except by curtailing the inquiry to an extent which, presumably, would have rendered it less full than was required.


Is the Minister not aware that oppressive costs such as these are apt to be regarded by other owners as a means of intimidating colliery owners to accept terms that otherwise would not be accepted, and does he not think that some means might be found whereby such costs can be reduced?

Commodore KING

No, I do not think the costs in this case will be considered heavy compared with the benefits received.


By the colliery company?

Commodore KING



It is the other fellow who receives the benefits.


Does the Minister think that, while the majority of colliery companies are losing money, any Commission ought to grant an increase to any royalty owner?

Commodore KING

It depends—


That question deals with a matter of opinion.

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