Re "Wonderland, " Cleethorpes

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeViscount Simonds,Lord Reid,Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest,Lord Hodson,Lord Pearce
Judgment Date30 May 1963
Judgment citation (vLex)[1963] UKHL J0530-2
Date30 May 1963
CourtHouse of Lords

[1963] UKHL J0530-2

House of Lords

Viscount Simonds

Lord Reid

Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest

Lord Hodson

Lord Pearce

East Coast Amusement Company Limited
British Railways Board

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause East Coast Amusement Company Limited against British Railways Board, that the Committee had heard Counsel, as well on Wednesday the 1st, as on Thursday the 2d, days of this instant May, upon the Petition and Appeal of East Coast Amusement Company Limited, whose registered office is situate at Wonderland, The Promenade, Cleethorpes, in the County of Lincoln, 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 22d of February 1962, might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order might be reversed, varied or altered, and that the Petitioners might have the relief prayed for in the Appeal, or 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 the British Railways Board, 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 22d day of February 1962, 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 said Respondents the Costs incurred by them in respect of the said Appeal, the amount thereof to be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Viscount Simonds

My Lords,


This appeal raises a question of construction of a section of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1954, upon which there has been a difference of opinion in the Court of Appeal. The relevant facts are not in dispute. The Appellant company under a lease dated the 4th November, 1938, held certain premises at Cleethorpes in the County of Lincoln for a term of twenty-one years which was due to expire on the 25th March, 1960. On the 1st September, 1959, invoking the provisions of section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1954, they requested the Respondents to grant them a new tenancy of the premises. One of the proposed terms was that the new annual rental should be £2,500. This rental was considerably below the then economic rent of the premises and could not be supported unless in determining it certain improvements carried out before the grant of the 1938 lease ought to be disregarded. The improvements were very substantial and consisted of an erection known as the "Big Dipper" and the main hall known as "Wonderland". They had in fact been made as long ago as 1926 but—and here is the crucial point—they had been made by the Appellant company who were in occupation of the premises under earlier leases granted by the predecessors in title of the Respondents.


The Respondents conceded that under the 1954 Act the Appellant company were entitled to a new tenancy but claimed that the improvements to which I have referred should not be disregarded in fixing the rental Accordingly the Appellant company commenced these proceedings to have that question determined. It was decided against them by Mr. Justice Pennycuick and by the Court of Appeal and, notwithstanding a dissenting judgment by Lord Evershed, M.R. in the latter Court, I concur in the unaminous opinion of your Lordships that it was rightly so decided.


The issue is to be resolved upon a consideration of section 34 of the Act, which is as follows:—

"The rent payable under a tenancy granted by order of the court under this Part of this Act shall be such as may be agreed between the landlord and the tenant or as, in default of such agreement, may be determined by the court to be that at which, having regard to the terms of the tenancy (other than those relating to rent), the holding might reasonably be expected to be let in the open market by a willing lessor, there being disregarded—

( a) any effect on rent of the fact that the tenant has or his predecessors in title have been in occupation of the holding,

( b) any goodwill attached to the holding by reason of the carrying on thereat of the business of the tenant (whether by him or by a predecessor of his in that business),

( c) any effect on rent of any improvement carried out by the tenant or a predecessor in title of his otherwise than in pursuance of an obligation to his immediate landlord,

( d) in the case of a holding comprising licensed premises, any addition to its value attributable to the licence, if it appears to the court that having regard to the terms of the current tenancy and any other relevant circumstances the benefit of the licence belongs to the tenant."


The immediately relevant clause is ( c), and the question is whether the Big Dipper and Wonderland were "improvements" carried out by "the tenant" or a "predecessor in title of his" within the meaning of that clause. It is urged on the one hand by the Appellant company that they were at the date of their application under section 24 the tenants of the premises and that it was they who had in fact carried out the improvements in question: therefore, they say, the language of the section is unambiguously apt to cover their case. On the other hand, it is said by the Respondents that the context imperatively demands that some qualification must be imposed upon the relevant words, at any rate if the words "the tenant" are to be read as indicating nominatim the person who is making the application: it could not be supposed that in determining the new rent improvements were to be disregarded that had been carried out by him in some other capacity than that of tenant or, if as a tenant, under some earlier tenancy with an intervening tenancy of a third party. If so, no other qualification could be suggested than that improvements carried out by the tenant must mean those carried out by him under the tenancy which he sought to have renewed.


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19 cases
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    ...retrospectively only insofar as clearly specified. If authority for that is required, it can be found in Re "Wonderland" Cleethorpes [1965] AC 58, 71–2. In the circumstances of the present case it receives support from the principle that a statute should not be given an interpretation that ......
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    ...retrospectively only insofar as clearly specified. If authority for that is required, it can be found in Re “Wonderland” Cleethorpes [1965] AC 58, 71-2. In the circumstances of the present case it receives support from the principle that a statute should not be given an interpretation that ......
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