Learmont v Young

CourtCourt of Session
Judgment Date01 November 1875
Docket NumberNo. 2.
Date01 November 1875
Court of Session
Registration Appeal Court. B.

Lord Ormidale, Lord Ardmillan, Lord Craighill.

No. 2.

County Franchise—Successive Ownership—Reform Act, 1868, 31 and 32 Vict. c. 48, sec. 13.—

Held that the successive ownership of different premises, and merely civil possession during the requisite period, did not afford a qualification for a vote in a county.

John Learmont, C.E., Edinburgh, was entered on the assessor's list as proprietor of dwelling-house, garden, &c., Girdwood Street, Peebles, and, in succession, of dwelling-house, stable, and coach-house, Tweed Green, Peebles.

Learmont had been proprietor of the subjects in Girdwood Street, Peebles, and in receipt of the rents thereof for several years preceding the 15th June 1875, when he sold them. The rent was £29 per annum, and the feu-duty £3, 15s. 2d. He became proprietor of the subjects in Tweed Green, Peebles, at Whitsunday 1875, and was entitled to the rents of the same, which amounted to £11 per annum, free of any deduction, from that term. He had not been in the actual personal occupation of either of the subjects during any part of the twelve calendar months next previous to 31st July 1875.

Thomas Young objected to Learmont's name being continued on the roll, on the ground that the ownership and mere civil possession of different subjects in succession during the statutory period could not, whatever their value, give a qualification to be enrolled under either the Reform Act of 1832 or the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act, 1868, and that section 13 of the latter Act, recognising successive occupancy, was only applicable where the occupancy was personal.

The Sheriff (G. Napier) sustained the objection.

Learmont appealed, and argued;—There was no principle and no conceivable reason why successive occupancy should confer the franchise and successive ownership should not. There could be no doubt that it was the intention of the Legislature that they should be equally sufficient to give a qualification. The word ‘occupied’ in section 13 of the Act of 1868* must be interpreted with reference to the previous clause of the statute. Where personal occupancy was necessary it must be interpreted as ‘occupied personally,’ and where personal occupancy was not necessary then as ‘occupied civilly.’ Now, there was a provision in the statute whereby an owner occupying civilly the same premises during six months acquired the franchise, and it would be inconsistent with the...

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