Today the Supreme Court hears the appeal in Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v Vauxhall Motors Ltd.
This litigation has concerned the right granted by Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd to Vauxhall Motors Limited to discharge surface water from its large Ellesmere Port Car Plant in to the Canal. The right was conferred in 1962 by a document described as a Licence and was perpetual, save that there was a right to terminate if the annual sum of £50 was not paid. When Vauxhall failed to pay this, the Canal company terminated the licence a few months later. Vauxhall subsequently sought relief from forfeiture.
The case concerns the highly important question of whether, and in what circumstances, relief from forfeiture may be granted in respect of licences. Different approaches to the question were taken at first instance and in the Court of Appeal but in both cases, the result was that relief from forfeiture was granted.