Home > Cases > Waters v. Welsh Development Agency

[2004] UKHL 19 (on appeal from [2002] EWCA Civ 924).Lord Nicholls delivered the main judgment which clarifies the application of the Pointe Gourde “no scheme” rule and noted;


“Unhappily the law in this country on this important subject is fraught with complexity and obscurity. To understand the present state of the law it is necessary to go back 150 years to the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845. From there a path must be traced, not always easily, through piecemeal development of the law by judicial exposition and statutory provision. Some of the more recent statutory provisions defy ready comprehension. Difficulties and uncertainties abound. One of the most intractable problems concerns the ‘Pointe Gourde principle’ or, as it is sometimes known, the ‘no scheme rule’. On this appeal your Lordships’ House has the daunting task of considering the content and application of this principle”


He later held:


“In applying this general principle there is of course no magical detailed formula which will provide a ready answer in every case. That is in the nature of things, circumstances varying so widely. But some pointers may be useful. (1) The Pointe Gourde principle should not be pressed too far. The principle is soundly based but it should be applied in a manner which achieves a fair and reasonable result. Otherwise the principle would thwart, rather than advance, the intention of Parliament. (2) A result is not fair and reasonable where it requires a valuation exercise which is unreal or virtually impossible. (3) A valuation result should be viewed with caution when it would lead to a gross disparity between the amount of compensation payable and the market values of comparable adjoining properties which are not being acquired. (4) When applied as a supplement to the section 6 code, which will usually be the position, the Pointe Gourde principle should be applied by analogy with the provisions of the statutory code. Thus in the class 1 type of case the area of the scheme should be interpreted narrowly, for instance, so as to embrace the property acquired under the compulsory purchase order and property which would probably have been so acquired had it not been bought by agreement. In other cases, such as case 2, Parliament has spread the ‘disregard’ net more widely. Then it may be appropriate to give the scheme a wider scope. (5) Normally the scope of the intended works and their purpose will appear from the formal resolutions or documents of the acquiring authority. But this formulation should not be regarded as conclusive. (6) When in doubt a scheme should be identified in narrower rather than broader terms.”


A more radical approach by Lord Scott, which would have effectively put to one side the developments of the Pointe Gourde principle by the courts did not attract the majority of the House of Lords.


David Holgate QC and Tim Morshead represented the Appellants.

For further information please click here.


icon-accordion-chevron icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-chevron-down icon-chevron-left icon-cross icon-download icon-letter icon-linked-in icon-phone-outline icon-phone icon-search icon-search icon-select-chevron icon-top-right-corner icon-twitter