Case Summaries: 9 November 1998

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

Crime

R v Andrews; CA (Crim Div) (Roch LJ, Laws, Butterfield JJ) 14 Oct 1998.

WHERE THERE was no suggestion that potential jurors in a criminal trial might have an interest in the case, such as having lost money in transactions which formed the basis of the trial, the questioning of jurors either orally or by use of a questionnaire was, save in the most exceptional circumstances, to be avoided. There was an assumption in English law that jurors would be faithful to their oaths to return true verdicts in accordance with the evidence.

Ronald Thwaites QC, RWG Threlfall (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; David Crigman QC, Robert Juckes (CPS) for the Crown.

R v F; CA (Crim Div) (Roch LJ, Potts, Butterfield JJ) 15 Oct 1998.

THE "LURKING doubt" approach, which had been applied when all the factors in an appeal against conviction were considered cumulatively to render a conviction unsafe, was no longer a proper approach. Parliament had laid down a simple test in s 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 as amended by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, which was that the court should allow an appeal against conviction if it thought the conviction unsafe, and should dismiss such an appeal in any other case. It was undesirable to place a gloss on the test formulated by Parliament which had the advantage of brevity and simplicity.

Henry Blaxland (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Stephen Bailey (CPS) for the Crown.

Adoption

Re SC (a minor); Fam Div (Wall J) 16 Oct 1998.

THE ONLY person who could apply under the Adoption Act 1976 to revoke an order freeing a child for adoption was a former parent, i.e. a birth parent who had not made a declaration under s 18(6) of the Act that he or she preferred not to be involved in future questions concerning the adoption. Where such a declaration had been made, therefore, it was neither open to the adoption agency to apply to revoke the freeing order nor open to the court to make a care order whilst the order freeing the child for adoption remained in place. Since there was an unintended lacuna in the 1976 Act, it was open to the court to exercise the inherent jurisdiction to discharge the freeing order if that were in the best interests of the child.

Yvonne Coppel for the local authority; Anthony Hayden for the birth mother; Robin Spon-Smith as amicus curiae.

Employment

Credit Suisse First Boston (Europe) Ltd v Lister; CA (Simon Brown, Aldous, Clarke LJJ) 16 Oct 1998.

THE EFFECT of Council Directive (EEC) 77/187 (the Acquired Rights Directive) and the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 was to prohibit an employee from waiving any right conferred on him by the directive, namely those rights conferred on him by the terms of his contract of employment with the transferor of the undertaking, even if the benefit of such a right was set off by a favourable amendment so as to leave the employee no worse off overall.

Michael Burton QC, Nicholas Randall (Clifford Chance) for the plaintiff; Andrew Clarke QC (Warner Cranston) for the defendant.

Disclosure

Smithkline Beecham Biologicals SA v Connaught Laboratories Inc; Ch Div (Laddie J) 30 Oct 1998.

ON AN application under RSC Ord 24 r 14A for leave to use documents which had been subject to a confidentially agrement, it was a question of fact whether the documents in issue had been read to or by the court, or referred to, in open court, and only if that issue were determined in the affirmative would the documents be treated as in the public domain. When a matter came on for oral hearing the skeleton arguments and all the derivative documents referred to in them were not automatically deemed to have been referred to in open court. It would not generally be right for a judge to release documents which would otherwise be under an embargo to a foreign court or tribunal because he had been told that without them that court or tribunal was incapable of doing justice.

David Young QC, Adrian Speck (Stringer Saul) for the petitioner; Roger Henderson QC, Daniel Alexander (Bird & Bird) for the respondent.

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