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13th May 1915, Page 11
13th May 1915
Page 11
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Keywords : Depreciation

Judge -Mellor, K.C., on 30th April, sat in the Manchester County Court to assess the value of five motor lorries which were seized in Manchester by representatives of the War Office at the outbreak of war in August, and which belonged to the Inter-Transport Co., whose head offices are in London. Mr. Atkinson, .C., and Mr. Dehri represented tho plaintiffs —the Inter-Transport, Co.—Mr. Rayner Goddard appeared for the Simplex Tyre Co., who were made parties to the action, and Mr. Branson, Treasury Solicitor, represented the Army Council.

Mr. Atkinson stated that when war broke out motor lorries became of more value. None of the lorries in respect of which the application was made had run 20,000 miles. It was for the judge to fix the depreciation of the vehicles, either by mileage or time. If it were in the latter manner then he asked that nothing higher than 10 per cent, per annum be fixed. That was the outside figure when lorries were running 20,000 miles per annum. No seller, even in normal times, would consider a sale at a greater depreciation than 10 per cent.

When the Impressing Officers of the War Office saw the lorries they were in perfect condition, and if it were going to he suggested that the lorries had unduly depreciated it might be stated that they bad been doing the journey to Newcastle in two or three days. After the lorries had been in the service of the War Office a few Months, they approached the plaintiffs to have them back. It was then found that the, lorries had been rained, and business was impossible between the 'parties. The tires, explained Mr. Atkinson, belonged to Simplex Tyre Co-., and as the plaintiffs had an agreement with them as_to the payment of so. machper mile for the-tires, that was how the Simplex Co. became parties to the action. It was instructive as. showing the Care and skill" which the War

Office, exercised in the matter, when it was stated that they allotted £628 for the tires, nearly twice as much as the Simplex Tyre Co. claimed. He (Mr. Atkinson) submitted that the amount offered by the War Office was totally inadequate.

• Mr. A. T. Salisbury -Jones, Hyde Park Corner, London, chairman of the board of directors of the plaintiff company, said that each of the, lorries coat the firm £750, and with

proper care they would last a lifetime. • Mr. Atkinson: Would it do 200,000 miles?—Yes, and infinitely more. Mr. Jones added that it was absolute nonsense tosuggest that the commandeered motors were in bad condition.

It was later agreed that the Simplex Tyre Co. were entitled to the sum of £256 10s. 6d. for the tires upon the five motor lorries in question, and his Honour consented to take that amount into consideration in his award.

For the War Office, Captain Snowden Smith, who impressed these lorries into service, stated that the vehicles were not examined internally, and the allowance he made, he thought, was on the generous side. •

Lieutenant Crowdie, who stated that he had had 15 years' experience of engineering, said that he followed the principle of deducting 20 per cent, per annum for depreciation, as that was the life of such lorries in the experience of all motor firms. He had examined the vehicles, and he thought the firm had been paid generously. Cross-examined, he thought that in five years the lorries would have very little practical value.

Captain Beale said that their instructions from the War Office were tobe as generous as possible in the price they paid.

After counsel-for each side had addressed the Judge, his Honour reserved his decision.

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