Arsenal Football Club Ltd v Ende
|England & Wales
|Lord Wilberforce,Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest,Viscount Dilhorne,Lord Fraser of Tullybelton,Lord Keith of Kinkel
|28 April 1977
|Judgment citation (vLex)
| UKHL J0428-1
|28 April 1977
|House of Lords
 UKHL J0428-1
House of Lords
Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest
Lord Fraser of Tullybelton
Lord Keith of Kinkel
Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause Arsenal Football Club Limited against Smith (Valuation Officer) and another, That the Committee had heard Counsel, as well on Monday the 14th, Tuesday the 15th, Wednesday the 16th and Thursday the 17th, days of March last, upon the Petition and Appeal of The Arsenal Football Club Limited the registered office of which is at Arsenal Stadium, Avenell Road, Highbury, London N.5, praying, That the matter of the Order set forth in the Schedule thereto, namely, an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 2d of August 1976, might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order might be reversed, varied or altered, or that the Petitioners might have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen in Her Court of Parliament, might seem meet; as also upon the Case of R. L. Smith (Valuation Officer); and also upon the Case of Theodore Arthur Ende, lodged in answer to the said Appeal; and due consideration had this day of what was offered on either side in this Cause:
It is Ordered and Adjudged, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Court of Parliament of Her Majesty the Queen assembled, That the said Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal, of the 2d day of August 1976, complained of in the said Appeal, be, and the same is hereby, Affirmed, and that the said Petition and Appeal be, and the same is hereby, dismissed this House: And it is further Ordered, That the Appellants do pay, or cause to be paid, to the Second Respondent Theodore Arthur Ende the Costs incurred by him in respect of the said Appeal, and to the First Respondent R. L. Smith (Valuation Officer) one half of the Costs incurred by him in respect of the said Appeal, the amount thereof to be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments.
The Arsenal Football Club Ltd. owns and occupies a stadium in the London Borough of Islington. It had a rateable value of £9,250. The second respondent, Mr. T. A. Ende, took the view that this value was too low, so in March 1972 he made a proposal for an alteration in the valuation list as regards Arsenal's hereditament. He suggested a figure of £60,000. Arsenal objected to this proposal, so did the valuation officer for the area, the first respondent: on these objections, the matter went to the local valuation court. That court held that Mr. Ende was entitled to make the proposal and increased the rateable value to £13,900ï¿½i.e., by about 50 per cent. Arsenal and the valuation officer appealed to the Lands Tribunal, which decided to hear as a preliminary issue the question whether Mr. Ende was entitled to make the proposal he did. After argument they held that he was not. But Mr. Ende took his case to the Court of Appeal which reversed the Lands Tribunal's decision. On the appeal by Arsenal to this House, Mr. Ende, as to part of his argument, is supported by the valuation officer. We are not concerned at this stage with the quantum of the valuation.
Mr. Ende's right to make the proposal depends upon section 69(1) of the General Rate Act 1967. This provides:
"Subject to subsection (6) of this section, any person (including a rating authority) who is aggrieved:
( a) by the inclusion of any hereditament in the valuation list; or
( b) by any value ascribed in the list to a hereditament or by any other statement made or omitted to be made in the list with respect to a hereditament; or
(c) in the case of a building or portion of a building occupied in "parts, by the valuation in the list of that building or portion "of a building as a single hereditament,
may at any time make a proposal for the alteration of the list so far as it relates to that hereditament."
The proposal certainly falls into paragraph ( b), but the question is whether Mr. Ende is "aggrieved" by the value ascribed to the hereditament. In order to answer this it is necessary to consider his status under three headings.
1. Mr. Ende is the managing agent of premises in the same borough ï¿½ 22 Beaumont Rise. This is a house in multiple residential occupation, and Mr. Ende has the duty of collecting the rents.
2. Mr. Ende resides in a fiat in the London Borough of Hackney which adjoins Islington, and is, as is Islington, within the area of the Greater London Council and Metropolitan Police precepting areas.
3. Mr. Ende is, of course, also a taxpayerï¿½but I agree with both courts below that this circumstance does not give him a locus standi to make proposals even though taxpayers, in effect, contribute by rate support grant to the borough finances. His interest in this respect is too remote.
1. His locus standi as managing agent of 22 Beaumont Rise depends upon section 24 of the General Rate Act 1967 ("the Act"). This, so far as relevant, provides:
"Where a building which was constructed or has been adaptedï¿½
( a) for the purposes of a single dwelling; or
( b) ï¿½ is occupied in parts, the valuation officer, in preparing a new valuation list or in altering a current valuation list, may, if he thinks fit, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the extent, if any, to which the parts separately occupied have been severed by structural alterations, treat the building or any portion thereof as a single hereditament, and a building or portion of a building so treated as a single hereditament shall, for the purposes of rating, be deemed to be a single hereditament in the occupation of the person who receives the rents payable in respect of the parts."
The first question is whether Mr. Ende "receives the rents": in my opinion he does. There is a distinction in rating legislation between a person who "receives the rents" and a person who is "entitled to receive the rents"ï¿½viz, the owner of the property; see for example section 115 of the Act s.v. "owner": the actual definition does not I think bear upon this case. Mr. Ende is certainly a person who receives the rents. There is no doubt that his name appears in the Rate Book in respect of this property: he is personally liable for the rates, his goods could be distrained against if he did not pay. No doubt he has no beneficial interest in the rents unless by way of commission, though it does not follow that the owner is entitled to receive them, since there may be outgoings or deductions against them. He is presumably entitled to be indemnified by the owner against liability for the rates. But the section, in my opinion, puts him "for the purposes of rating" in the position of a ratepayerï¿½and no doubt does so deliberately so as to save the local authority the trouble and expense of searching for the owner and proceeding against him. So I think that Mr. Ende has all the rightsï¿½as well as the liabilitiesï¿½which he would have if he were actually in occupation of the property, and at ratepayer in his own right.
Then is a ratepayer a person aggrieved by the undervaluation of a hereditament in the same rating area? The way in which section 69(1)(b) of the Act is drafted "aggrieved ï¿½ by any value ascribed in the list to a "hereditament" suggests that he may beï¿½for these words are not confined to the value (i.e., over-valuation) of his own hereditament, they can cover other hereditaments and must include cases of undervaluation of other hereditaments. But Arsenal suggest that the expression must be limited in some way and the limitation for which they contend is that, to show that a person is "aggrieved", he must prove that he is demonstrably affected in his pocket, rights or interests, by the undervaluation of the hereditament. Since, they continue, a revaluation, even on the scale suggested here will not have the slightest effect on the amount which Mr. Ende as ratepayer will have to pay, he cannot be said to be aggrieved by the undervaluation. To deal with this argument it is necessary to consider more closely the meaning of "aggrieved".
The word is not one of normal English speechï¿½it is, if not a legal term, at least one coloured by usage in the law. It has appeared in a number of rating Acts over the 234 years since the Poor Law Relief Act 1743 (17 Geo. II c. 38). The formula has varied. Taking only the main enactments we find, "[if any person] shall find himself aggrieved by any rate" (Act of 1743, section 4):
"any person who may feel himself aggrieved by any Valuation List"
(The Union Assessment Committee Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vic. c. 103) section 18):
"any person ï¿½ who is aggrieved by the incorrectness or unfairness of any matter in the valuation list ï¿½ or otherwise ï¿½"
(Rating and Valuation Act 1925 (15- 16 Geo. 5, c. 90, sections 26, 37):
"any person who is aggrieved"
The remedy too has varied with the development of the rating machinery. In 1743 it was by appeal to Quarter Sessions and in the Poor Rate Act 1801, section 6, it was recognised that an appeal would lie against the insufficient assessment of one or of several persons. In 1862, when valuation lists were first introduced it was by notice of objection which would be heard by the Assessment Committee of the Union. The Act of 1925 introduced the right to make a proposal for amendment of the valuation list which then had to be heard and determined by the assessment committee. The Act of 1948 continued thisï¿½in terms almost identical to those used in the Act of 1967 and set up local valuation courts to decide upon them.
There were, as one would expect, a number of cases decided upon these various...
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