HC Deb 27 May 1909 vol 5 cc1470-2W

asked the Chief Secretary, in reference to the dispute between the Wexford Rural District Council and the Local Government Board as to the payment of the cost of the arbitration held on the 8th July last, under the Labourers Acts, in that district, whether he is aware that the terms of the arbitrator's appointment expressly excluded from his purview the agreement cases dealt with by him on that occasion; that the council repudiated the inquiry, as evidenced by a question asked on the 30th July; that on the 7th August the council objected to pay for this sitting of the arbitrator; and that, without hearing the local authority by solicitor or counsel, the Local Government Board made their order for payment of the disputed costs; and whether, seeing that in giving costs against the arbitrator in the New towards appeal case (Rex (Crommelin v. O'Neill), decided in December last, the Lord Chancellor expressed the opinion that the Local Government Board should not see him at a loss, he will say if the Local Government Board paid these -costs; and, if so, whether, having regard to the whole circumstances and to the fact that the law proceedings and the expense incurred were primarily occasioned by the Local Government Board having entertained an erroneous view of the law, he will request that body to have that portion of the costs to the payment of which the Wexford Council object defrayed, as suggested by the Lord Chancellor in the Newtownards case, out of their own funds?


I am informed by the Local Government Board that the facts are as stated. There is no analogy between the Newtownards case and the Wexford -case as regards the liability of the Board to defray out of their vote any portion of the costs incurred in relation to the arbitration proceedings. In the former case the Local Government Board and the arbitrator were represented in the King's Bench Division and in the Court of Appeal, and the costs necessarily followed the result. In the Wexford case the Local Government Board merely appointed the. arbitrator, and subsequently conveyed to the council the unanimous decision of the King's Bench Division, given in the following month, and the proposal that the Board should themselves bear portion of the expenses of the arbitration is not one that can be entertained. The Board, in issuing their certificate as to the amount of the costs to be paid by the council acted -in pursuance of Article 28 of the second schedule of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, and after considering the objections of the council to the arbitrator's account as set forth in their minutes. It is not the practice of the Board to require that such objections should be put before them by solicitor or counsel when they can as well be submitted in writing, and this course would only result in increased expense. It is to be borne in mind that the costs in the Newtownards case were the taxed costs of legal proceedings while there were no legal proceedings in the Wexford case, but merely the expenses connected with the local valuation and award by the arbitrator. The costs of the award in the Newtownards case, as distinguished from the costs of the lawsuit, have been paid by the Newtownards Rural District Council.