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CAMBRIAN GOSSIP.j ..........-.....




WELSH TITHES ASSESSMENT TO POOR'S RATE. APPEAL BY THE DEAN AND CHAPTER OF ST. ASAPH. The Dean and Chapter of St. Asaph on Mon- day. in respect to their assessment to the poor rate on certain tithe rent charges in the parish of Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, by the Assess- ment Committee of the Llanfyllin Union, appealed to the Master of the Rolls and Lords Justices Lopes and Chitty from a decision of Justices Wills and Wright in December last on a special case submitted to them in the matter by the Quarter Sessions of Montgomeryshire, to whom the Dean and Chapter appealed from the rating in question. The points raised by the special case were chiefly these-(I) whether deducations in respect to the assessment shoud be allowed on the gross estimated rental (2) whether there should be a deduction for the remuneration paid to collectors, and for legal costs, out of pocket expenses, and bad debts (3) whether also deductions should be made in respect to the liability of the Dean and Chapter as owners of the rectoral tithes to repair the chaneel of the parish church; (4) whether likewise a deduction should be made of tenants profits and (5) whether the estimated value of the gross rentals in one year could be deter- mined by an average of previous years. The decision of their lordships sitting as a divi sional court, being in favour of the overseers, this was now appealed against. Mr. M'Morran, Q.C., with Mr. Stephenson Moore, appearing for the Dean and Chapter, said that originally they appealed to Quarter Sessions against the assessment^made by the Assessme Committee and the Sessions allowed the appellants two deductions, viz. in respect of tenants' profits, and next in respect- to the costs of repair of the chancel of the parish church. On these | wo heads appeal was made to the Divisional Court, and it decided that the Quarter Sessions were wrong as regarded both of them, but gave leave to bring this appeal. As to the tenants' profits, the learned counsel based his objection to disturbing che decision of the Divisional Court on the authority under which their two lordships acted as decided in the case of the Queen and Goodchild and Lord Campbell and James Erie and Crompton.' In the court below it was argued that this decision no longer held good by reason of a later decision in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, against the overseers of the parish of Liverpool, in which Mr. Justice Blackburn, delivering the decision of the court, cited but did not over rule Queen and Goodchild.' The Master of the Rolls remarked that these cases seemed to have agreed that the tenants' profits ought not to be deducted, and not, a§ he understood the present case, an allowance of 4 per cent in respect of all tenants' taxes had been made for collection, and Quarter Sessions allowed a further reduction of 1 per cent, apparently thinking that the 4 per cent was insufficient. Lord Justice Lopes: But you must have a finding for that insufficiency, and that is essen- Li'I IV a matter for the Sessions. They seemed i to think that a deduction for tenants' profits &rose per se,' whereas the Goodchild case shows that it could only be made in cases where it actually existed. In answer to the Bench, Mr. M'Morran said Mr. Justice Wills in the Divisional Court remarked that they were dealing with hazy hypothetical tenants, and he thought the Mersey Dock case concluded the matter, and they ought not to give the go by to it. Lord Justice Lopes said he thought Quarter Sessions must have misunderstood -the case, and the Goodchild decision was also a case of incumbent's tithe, and Mr. Justice. Crompton was a great authority on this subject. The Master of the Rolls Trade profits are to be considered, and tithes, surely, cannot be called a trade profit. Mr. M'Morran: Ife is not a case of trade profit, but of tenant's profit, and Quarter Sessions allowed the appeal. Lord Justice Lopes asked how repairs came in ? The rector was usually bound to repair the church as a spearate hereditament. Mr. M'Morran said the deductions ordinarily included ecclesiastical dues, of which these repairs formed a part. Lord Justice Lopes The hypothetical tenant is not a hypothetical tenant of the tithe. The Master of the Rolls: And is he entitled to deduct the cost of repairing the chancel. Lord Justice Lopes Which ought to come out of the pockets of the rector. The Master of the Rolls Have you any case from the begining of time till now in which such deduction has been allowed. Mr. M'Morran did not know that he had a case, but be quoted from Archibald's Poor law TexB book, a circular from the Poor law Board interpreting the Act of Parliament. The Master of the Rolls And we shall not pay the smallest regard to it. In support of the decisions below and in opposition to the appeal Mr. Marshall, Q.C. (with him Mr. Ellis Griffith, M.P.) submitted that the appeal should not be allowed. To do otherwise would be ordering a payment twice over. The appellants, having been first allowed the expenses of collection, were then allowed remuneration to the collectors, and also something for tenants' profit. He sub- mitted that such allowances could not be sup- ported. The Master of the Rolls, saying the Court need not trouble the learned counsel further on that point, Mr. Marshall said the next point—the repairs to the chancel-was even more obviously right. By an Act of Charles II. dealing with this particular rectory, the whole of the tithes were devoted to two pur- poses which the Act set forth, particularly the repair of the cathedral of St. Asaph and its choir. On the decision of Quarter Session the appellants said if they were not entitled to deductions in respect of the cathedral, they were as regarded the repairs of the chancel of the parish church. The Master of the Rolls said the Court need not hear anything more on the subject. The rule as to the hypothetical tenant, and how he was to be dealt with, was perfectly well set- tled, and nothing had been said in this case tending to over rule that settlement. The point raised was whether certain deductions should be made. In his opinion a blunder had been made in point of law in the present case, and deductions had been made, all of which could not be defended or supported, though some of them were rightly allowed. The repair of the chancel, so far as he could see, had nothing whatever to do with it, and he thought the appeal should be dismissed. Lord Justice Lopes said he agreed, thinking the Divisional Court right, and that its deci- sions should be affirmed. Lord* Justice Chitty said he concurred in thinking them right, and the appeal was dis- missed, with costs.