LAW REPORT: CASE SUMMARIES

29 June 1998
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The Independent Culture
The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Attempts

R v Bristol MagistratesU Court ex p E; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Thomas J) 22 June 1998.

An offence of attempting to commit an act of criminal damage existed in law even where, had the act been completed, the offence would have been triable only summarily by virtue of s 22 and Sch 2 to the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 because the value of the damage was less than pounds 5,000. It had not been an accident in drafting that had led to the inclusion of the offence of "attempting to commit" an offence under s 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 in Sch 2 of the 1980 Act. Merely because the completed offence had to be proceeded with on a summary only basis, did not mean it was a summary offence. The completed offence was an indictable offence within the definition contained in the Interpretation Act 1978.

Simon Goodman (Douglas & Partners, Bristol) for the applicant; Kerry Barker (CPS, Bristol) for the Crown.

County Court practice

Black v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council; CA (Stuart Smith, Swinton Thomas, Ward LJJ) 23 June 1998.

A judge, when deciding whether to order payment out under CCR Ord 11 r 1 where a plaintiff had asked for payment outside the limitation period, had to apply the principles found in the corresponding High Court provision, RSC Ord 22 r 5. Although the language was different the effect was the same, namely, that once there had been a substantial alteration in the circumstances, payment out should not be ordered. A change in the law which resulted in the defendants having to pay the Compensation Recovery Unit pounds 15,000 more to dispose of the plaintiff's claim than they were prepared to pay out constituted such a substantial alteration in circumstances.

John McNeill (Hammond Suddards, Leeds) for the defendants; Timothy Hurst (Frank Allen Pennington, Doncaster) for the plaintiff.

Sentence

R v Kent Youth Court, ex p K; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Thomas J) 23 June 1998.

Where a youth court passed sentences in respect of offences committed by a juvenile, by virtue of s 1A of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 each sentence had to be of at least two months' detention. It was clear from the predecessor legislation that a sentence was passed for an offence and not a series of offences, the only difference between the old section and the inserted section being that the inserted section distinguished between offenders of different ages. It was not possible, therefore, for justices to sentence a youth charged with a number of offences to six months' detention in respect of one offence and sentences of one month each in respect of two other offences to run consecutively.

John Lyons (Taylor Nichol) for the applicant; Peter Gower (CPS) for the Crown.

Interim payment

Sharp v Pereira & anr; CA (Lord Woolf MR, Millett, Pill LJJ) 24 June 1998.

A court had jurisdiction to make an interim order under RSC Ord 29 r 11(2) for damages against a defendant whose liability would be met by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) in a case where the claim would be met out of the resources of the MIB rather than out of the resources of a private insurer, since the purpose of the rule was that a person who was an uninsured defendant would still be able to meet an order for an interim payment if the case was one where liability would ultimately be met by the MIB.

John Crowley QC, Jonathan Howard (Liddell Zurbrugg) for the plaintiff; Timothy Lamb QC, Charles Cory-Wright (Edward Lewis) for the MIB.

Divorce

White v White; CA (Butler-Sloss, Thorpe, Mantell LJJ) 19 June 1998

Where the parties to a marriage had traded as equal partners, a wife was entitled in law to her share on dissolution according to the law of partnership, even where the partnership was only dissolved as part of the divorce proceedings, and the wife's share, once determined, was hers to deploy, to spend, or to invest as she thought fit.

Paul Coleridge QC, John Ker-Reid (Bevan Ashford, Tiverton) for the petitioner; Nicholas Mostyn QC (Clarke Willmot & Clarke, Taunton) for the respondent.

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