Case Summaries: 11 January 1999

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THE FOLLOWING notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Practice

Gulf Interstate Oil Co and anor v ANT Trade and Transport Ltd of Malta ("The Giovanna"); QBD, Commercial Ct (Rix J) 17 Dec 1998.

A MAREVA injunction might not be sought ex parte without at least some mention of the existence of an offer of security which was still current at the time when the plaintiffs went to court. Such an offer, even though there might be strings attached to it, ran directly contrary to the implicit invocation by an applicant for a Mareva injunction of the court's assistance in confronting a real risk of dissipation.

Michael Collins QC, Nigel Eaton (Ince & Co) for the plaintiffs; Timothy Charlton QC (Clyde & Co) for the defendant.

Yorkshire Bank v Hall and ors; Hall and ors v Yorkshire Bank; CA (Mantell, Robert Walker LJJ, Kay J) 18 Dec 1998.

THE EXPRESSION "any other enactment" in the new s 42(7)(b) of the County Courts Act 1984, introduced by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, was not to be read as excluding the 1984 Act itself. Accordingly, the transfer of a mortgagee's possession action to the High Court from the county court could not give the High Court a jurisdiction which, according to the provisions of s 21 of the 1984 Act, was exclusively that of the county court.

John Macdonald QC, Nicholas Le Poidevin (Ingham Clegg & Crowther) for the appellants; Ali Malek QC, Jonathan Davies-Jones (Hammond Suddards) for the respondent.

Housing benefit

Mehanne v Housing Benefit Review Board of the City of Westminster; CA (Stuart-Smith, Thorpe, Mummery LJJ) 21 Dec 1998.

THE WORD "shall" in reg 11(2) of the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987 did not deprive the Housing Benefit Review Board of a discretion as to the amount of a reduction in the eligible rent. The amount of the reduction was not automatic or mandatory; it was by such amount as the board considered appropriate. That was the language of discretion rather than of an obligation always to make a reduction in the eligible rent by the full amount of the difference between the rent and the cost of suitable alternative accommodation.

Richard Drabble QC, Simon Cox (Moss Beachley Mullen) for the appellant; Clive Jones (City Solicitor, City of Westminster) for the council.

Tort

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co SAK and anor v Al Bader and ors (H Clarkson & Co Ltd and ors, third parties); QBD, Commercial Ct (Moore-Bick J) 17 Dec 1998.

THE DOUBLE actionability rule only required the acts constituting the tort sued upon in England to be actionable, i.e. that they should give rise to a claim in civil proceedings, as between the parties in the country in which they had been committed. There was no need for identity of cause of action, let alone any need for the form of the proceedings in England to satisfy rules governing the form of proceedings in the foreign country. Accordingly, the double actionability rule was satisfied in a case where conspiracy to defraud was alleged, notwithstanding that conspiracy consisted in an unlawful combination with intent to cause injury and the relevant foreign law did not recognise any such unlawful combination.

Julian Malins QC, Richard Slade, Jonathan Adkin (Shaw & Croft) for the plaintiffs; Stanley Brodie QC, Robert Howe (Olswang) for the first defendant; the second defendant in person; Selwyn Bloch (Brian Harris) for the third defendant; Nicholas Strauss QC, Craig Orr (Slaughter & May) for the third third party.

Local government

R v Commissioner for Local Administration, ex p H; QBD, Crown Office List (Turner J) 21 Dec 1998.

THE INTENTION underlying the Local Government Act 1974 was to give redress to those denied redress of any other kind. It was not to provide two remedies; a substantive one by means of judicial review, and a compensatory one through the Ombudsman. Where a party had ventilated a grievance through judicial review proceedings, it was not contemplated that he should have an alternative or additional remedy; such proceedings fell within s 26(6)(c) of the Act, and, accordingly, the Ombudsman had no authority to hear a complaint.

Richard Gordon QC, Ian Wise (Coningsbys) for the applicant; Brian Ash QC, John Hobson (Pulvers) for the Commissioner.

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