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ficial, arbitrary boundaries; and is averse to a number of authorities or jurisdictions over places which are, in fact, the same—are not, in fact, two towns situated close to one another—but inter-dependent parts of the same town. And that, not merely from the saving effected in establishment charges from proper combination, but from the diminution of friction between, separate governing bodies.* These principles have, we think, been carried into legislation in most instances, and there are, we believe, fewer exceptions than might fairly have been anticipated, when the. varying nature of the tribunals. which have to decide on these matters. is taken into, consideration.
But even after the principle of extension has been determined in relation to the existing character of a borough, and its requirements. in relation to sanitary government, there are many important questions which fall to be decided between parties with very various and very conflicting interests. We have seen that in some cases, Parliament has sanctioned a differential rating as regards the added area, but in the cases mentioned, that differential rating has only been of a temporary nature. But claims are sometimes made to a permanent differential rating on such occasions. Thus, railway companies, on the occasion of the promotion of an extension or improvement Bill, which will affect their liability, to pay rates, not unfrequently put in a claim to be treated differently from other persons or companies, and to have an exception or exemption made in
* The Municipal Corporations (Scotland), Commissioners, 1833, in speaking on this subject, say: "Were there nothing else but the simplifications of the system, and the avoidance of those inconveniences which the conflict and collision of so many separate magistrates and jurisdictions have a tendency to create, that of itself would be no small good. But by the diminution of the number of useless office bearers, the putting an end to so many separate systems of collection under the present Police Acts, and the prevention of many little local jealousies which are apt to arise between unconnected communities, there must be, in all probability, a saving of expense.” — Report.
their favour. The argument they put forward in favour of this claim, is often founded upon the action of Parliament in passing the Public Health Acts. The special provisions affecting railway companies, inserted in the Public Health Act of 1848 (section 88), and the Local Government Act of 1858 (section 55), are made a part of the Public Health Act, 1875, section 211, which enacts that, with respect to the district rate under that Act, the “occupiers of any land used as a canal, or towing path for the same, or as a railway, constructed under the powers of any Act of Parliament, for public conveyance, shall be assessed in respect of the same, in the proportion of one-fourth part only of such net annual value thereof." The reason for this exemption, seems to have been that a railway company could derive no benefit from the raising or expenditure of a district rate, which was applicable to sanitary purposes. But railway companies have endeavoured, on various occasions, to stretch this principle, and claimed a like exemption from borough rates, which were applicable to general town purposes, such as the building of courts, town halls, police cells, or markets, the widening of streets and the like; in all of which objects the company was more or less directly interested. That was the case in the Walsall Improvement Bill, 1876, and again in the Middlesbro' Improvement Bill, 1877. The North-Eastern Railway Company endeavoured before a Committee of the House of Commons, to extend the exemp. tion given to them in respect of the district rate to the borough rate. It is to be remembered in connection with such claims, that every exemption of one, means an increased taxation of others, and for that reason, as well as for the reason that exempting legislation is exceptional, these exemptions are to be strictly construed. That has been the attitude of the Courts of Law in relation to the Acts referred to, and the decisions in these cases are applicable to the Public Health Act, 1875. Thus, in the case of the South Wales Rail. Co. v. Swansea Local Board of
Health,* the exemption was held to apply only to the line of railway, including the sidings, turn-tables and platforms, but not to stations, warehouses and buildings, auxiliary to, and necessary for the working of the railway.t The claim in the Middlesbro' case was perhaps better founded than most, for the Corporation had, in its Waterworks Act of the year before (39 and 40 Vict., c. 230, sec. 105), inserted a clause exempting the railway company from all but one-fourth of the rates leviable under that Act; and in Middlesbro', there is a certain district called the “ Ironmasters' District," in which-under an Act of 1868—the occupiers only pay one-fourth of the rates. But, notwithstanding these arguments in favour of the railway company, the Committee refused to allow the exemption asked for. The practice of Parliament has not been quite uniform in this regard, but we think that the action of the Committee who sat on the Middlesbro' Bill-is conformable with the best opinion.
But even when these claims to exemption do not arise, difficult and important questions have to be decided between the borough and the county, as to the fair adjustment of matters between them. In many cases, the counties have incurred large debts on behalf of the whole of their area, and when some portion of the rateable area is taken away, it seems fair that it should carry with it its proportionate share of the debt. Of course, in such a case, it falls to be considered whether the debt has been contracted by the county on behalf of the whole of its rateable area, and whether the part of the county which is to be associated with the town, has had the benefit of the expenditure on account of which the debt was incurred. If that was not the case, there would be unfairness in adopting the principle above alluded to. This principle is admitted, and it was given effect to in the Exeter Extension Bill, 1877, and the
• 4 E. and B. 189; 24 L.J., M.C. 30.
+ See also R. v. Newport Dock Co., 31 L.J., M.C. 266 ; North-Eastern Rail. Co. v. Leadgate, L.R., 5 Q.B. 157, 39 L.J., M.C. 85.
Derby Extension Bill, 1877. But even when that matter is settled, there are intricate questions behind. Thus, in the Galashiels Boro' Extension, &c., Bill, 1876, a somewhat curious claim was made on behalf of the Road Trustees of the County of Selkirk. It appeared, that within the Town of Galashiels, there were four sets of roads; those belonging to the Roxburghshire Trustees, those belonging to the Parish of Melrose, and called “Statute Labour Roads," those belonging to the Selkirkshire Trustees, and certain new roads which the latter trustees would not repair, and which the Town Council had to keep in order. The Bill proposed to transfer all these to the hands of the Town Council, and as there was a debt of £20,000 owing by the Roxburghshire Trustees the Corporation were willing to pay their proportionate share of that debt, which amounted to £500, and as certain superannuation allowances had been granted by the Selkirkshire Trustees, they expressed their willingness to bear their proportionate share of these. That, however, did not content the Selkirkshire Trustees, who asserted that having a right to rate Galashiels, from the exercise of which they derived a surplus income, after repairing the roads in the burgh, which were available in other parts of the county, they would be deprived of that surplus by the Bill, and ought to be compensated for such deprivation. The Corporation alleged that there was no surplus, but if there was, there ought to be none, for the roads in the burgh were badly kept, and had not enough of money spent on them. A Committee of the House of Lords refused the compensation asked for.
In the Derby case (1877) an important point was raised on behalf of the County Justices. The Bill proposed to take Litchurch, and other places, out of the county, and to exempt these places from all county rates. It was argued, on behalf of the Justices, that under the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835—an Act which made the Municipal Boundaries of Boroughs co-extensive with the Parliamentary
Boundaries, as settled by the Boundaries Act of 1832—the Borough of Derby would, but for the exempting clauses in the Bill, be liable, as for its annexed area to the county rate, except in so far as that rate was applicable to “the costs of prosecution, maintenance, and punishment, conveyance and transport of offenders committed for trial in such county." There had been no doubt that, under this Act, a borough which, before the passing of the Boundaries Act (2 & 3 Will. IV., c. 64), was liable to the county rate, and which had a Court of Quarter Sessions, remained liable to the county rate, but there was doubt whether in a borough, of which the old part was not liable to the rate, the new part was or was not liable. That, however, had now been settled, both in the Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Appeal by the decisions in the case of the Queen v. The Treasurer of the Borough of New Windsor (1 L.R., Q.B. Div., 1875), and therefore the Justices wanted the exempting clause struck out, which would leave the annexed portion of Derby liable to contribute to the county rate, or a proviso inserted containing the provisions of the 117th Section of the Municipal Corporations Act as to the added area. Committees of both Houses refused the application of the Justices, and exempted the added area from the county rates. No doubt that was a sound decision. The less over-lapping of jurisdictions there is the better, and all such matters of controversy are better settled at the time of the passing of the Bill than continued by reason of such clashing jurisdictions after the Bill has passed. Many similar questions may be raised in connection with such bills, but, on the whole, we think the principles upon which Parliament deals with such questions are sufficiently illustrated by the cases referred to. In some cases county property within the added area has been exempted from annexation,* and been legally identified with the county,
* This was the case in relation to the Judges' Lodgings in the Exeter Bill of last Session.