Page images
PDF
EPUB

whom they are concluded; 3rd, The objects that they may lawfully be made to embrace.

57. 1st. Then it is clear that the withdrawal of opposition in parliament is a good consideration for a contract; (y) every landowner has a right, when his property is threatened to be taken for the purposes of a railway, to make the best bargain that he can for the sale of his land, or for compensation for injuries to it; and there is not in such a case any common obligation on the various owners of property along the line of the intended railway to place themselves on the same footing in regard of the projectors. () And however large the price at which the projectors choose to buy off the party's opposition, however disproportionate to the value of the property or their own means, it constitutes no objection per se to the contract. (a)

58. 2nd. A party is not precluded from bargaining for the preservation of his property simply because he is a peer or member of parliament, otherwise he would be placed in a worse condition than any private individual. Unquestionably if it were made part of the agreement with a person so circumstanced, that he should either give or withhold his vote for or against a particular measure, this would render the bargain corrupt and illegal, and consequently void; illegality, however, is not to be

(y) Vauxhall Bridge Company v. Earl Spencer, 2 Mad. 356; S. C. Jac. 64.

(2) Lord Howden v. Simpson, 10 A. & E. 793; S. C. affirmed on appeal to House of Lords, 3 R. Cas. 294; Lord Fetre v. Eastern Counties Railway Company, 1 R. Cas. 462.

(a) Lord Petre v. Eastern Counties Railway Company, ubi supra.

presumed, and therefore in the absence of proof to the contrary, drawn either from the tenor of the agreement or from extraneous sources, the intendment would be (b) that the party's quality of peer, &c. in no way affected the bargain, and that he was left, notwithstanding the supposed agreement, to exercise his free judgment and give or withhold his vote according to his conscience upon the measure when it came before him in his legislative capacity.

59. 3rd. As to the objects for which a party may stipulate. A party then may conclude such a contract, not simply with the view of securing himself an adequate recompense for the threatened injury to his property, but likewise by way of precaution against the projectors coming upon it at all, and in order to drive them to take a different line. Even though the payment, upon which the party actuated by this double motive insists, be beyond all proportion to the amount of substantial injury that the railway is calculated to inflict on his property, and must, if exacted, exhaust the funds of the company to such a degree as to render them incapable of completing their project, yet this, it seems, cannot be taken to invalidate the contract. (c) Nay, though a party stipulate in express terms for the projectors subsequently endeavouring to deviate their line, and bind them to take the necessary steps for the purpose, the agreement is not on that account invalid. Though, in this case, if it were originally intended by the parties to the contract to conceal the part of

(6) Lord Howden v. Simpson, ubi supra; see also Lord Petre v. Eastern Counties Railway Company, ubi supra.

(c) Lord Petre v. Eastern Counties Railway Company, ubi supra.

it touching the deviation from the legislature, it might make a difference; inasmuch as the transaction might be regarded as a fraud on the legislature, the parties having agreed to make a false representation to that body by stating the object of the adventurers to be to carry one line into effect, and concealing the design of applying for another. (d) In no case, it is conceived, could a stipulation of the above nature be open to be impugned on the ground of its being a fraud on the other landowners on the line of the intended railway, even though calculated to operate in some respects prejudicially to their interests, there being no common obligation, as we have before remarked, on the different landowners to place themselves on the same footing. (d)

60. A party may stipulate, as part of the consideration for his withdrawing his opposition, for the payment of a fixed sum of money at a given time after the passing of the act, and in this case no subsequent alteration in the plans of the projectors can relieve them from their obligation, (e) even though the line ultimately adopted by them altogether avoids the party's land.

(d) Lord Howden v. Simpson, 10 A. & E. 793; S. C. 3 R. Cas. 294, affirmed on appeal to the House of Lords.

(e) Lord Howden v. Simpson, 10 A. & E. 793; S. C. 3 R. Cas. 294, affirmed on appeal to the House of Lords.

CAP. II.

OF THE ACT OF PARLIAMENT.

SECT. 1.-Of the Validity of such Act.
2. Of the Construction of the Act.

SECT. 1.-Of the Validity of the Act.

61. In general, the validity of an act, constituting a railway company, cannot be disputed, though it may possibly be otherwise, where the act is obtained by fraud or misrepresentation practised upon the legislature. But where the false representation is embodied in the act, or there is otherwise a misrecital of any important particular, (a) that, it may be said, is no ground for impugning the authority of the act, inasmuch as it can hardly be competent for a party to question the truth of what is stated as a fact in the act of parliament. (a)

(a) See judgment of Alexander, C. B. in Cromford Railway Company v. Lacey, 3 Y. & J. 80, where the point was raised though not decided, as the case ultimately went off on a different ground.

+

SECT. 2. Of the Construction of a Railway Act.

I. Of the General Principles of Construction.

II.

Of the Principles applicable to particular Clauses.
III. Of those applicable to several Acts relating to the same
Company.

62. I. Of the general principles of construction applicable to the entire act. A railway act is to be viewed as a bargain between the adventurers and the public, the terms of which are expressed in the statute. (b) The fundamental rule of construction accordingly in all such cases is established to be this, viz. that the adventurers can claim nothing, which is not clearly given them by the statute; on this may be engrafted what follows, as a necessary corollary from it, viz., that any ambiguity in the terms of the contract must operate against the adventurers, and in favour of the public. (c) Although the meaning of a railway act should be clear and explicit, the criteria, it may be remarked, by which that meaning is to be ascertained, are the same as in the case of any other instrument, viz. the language, and the sense or reason of the law as collected from the entire act. As a general rule, the language is to be understood in its ordinary sense; but if such a construction lead to an absurdity, or is manifestly repugnant to the express or implied intention of the

(b) Blakemore v. Glamorganshire Canal Company, 1 My. & K. 154.

(c) Stourbridge Canal Company v. Wheeley, 2 B. & Ad. 793 Priestly v. Foulds, 2 Railway Cas. 441; S. C. 2 M. & G. 175; see also Parker v. Great Western Railway Company, 7 Scott's N. R. 835; S. C. 22 Law Journ. C. P. 105.

« EelmineJätka »