London Street Tramways v London County Council

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Citation Number: [1898] UKHL 1, [1898] AC 375

HOUSE OF LORDS

Date: 25 April 1898

Between:

THE LONDON TRAMWAYS COMPANY, LIMITED
APPELLANTS
– v –
THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL
RESPONDENTS

EARL OF HALSBURY L.C. My Lords, I think your Lordships are very much indebted to Sir Robert Reid and his learned junior for the candour with which this question has been raised. It would undoubtedly have been extremely inconvenient if, after hearing the case argued for a considerable time, the fact had been pointed out to us that there was a decision of this House which was conclusive upon the point. By the candour of the learned counsel who very properly raised the question in the first instance, it has now been admitted that there is upon this very question a decision of this House.

My Lords, for my own part I am prepared to say that I adhere in terms to what has been said by Lord Campbell and assented to by Lord Wensleydale, Lord Cranworth, Lord Chelmsford and others, that a decision of this House once given upon a point of law is conclusive upon this House afterwards, and that it is impossible to raise that question again as if it was res integra and could be reargued, and so the House be asked to reverse its own decision. That is a principle which has been, I believe, without any real decision to the contrary, established now for some centuries, and I am therefore of opinion that in this case it is not competent for us to rehear and for counsel to reargue a question which has been recently decided.

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