Law Report: Case Summaries

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The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Bundles

Re Macro (Ipswich) Ltd; Re Earliba Finance Co Ltd; Chd (Arden J); 29 March 1994.

It was very important to pay careful attention to what was put into court bundles. In the instant case (a petition under s 459 of the Companies Act 1985), many documents had been duplicated or were irrelevant to either side's case, and several bundles had simply not been agreed.

The production of bundles required a high level of co-operation on all sides and detailed work, starting well before trial. Unless this was done, a considerable amount of time and money was likely to be wasted, and inconvenience to witnesses and the court was likely to result.

Michael Driscoll QC and Timothy Harry (Penningtons) for the petitioners; J Owen Rhys and Gregory JS Hill (Graham & Oldham) for the respondents.

Children

Re X (a minor); CA (Sir Stephen Brown P, Russell and Roche JJ); 21 March 1994.

On the making of an adoption order, the court had no power to order the Registrar General to exclude the names, addresses and occupation of the adopters from the Adopted Children Register, since he had an absolute duty to keep the register and an index to the register entitling any person to search that index and have a certified copy of any entry in the register, pursuant to s 50 of the Adoption Act 1976 and Adoption Rules 1984 (SI 265).

Where, however, a natural parent with a propensity to harm the child could breach the confidentiality of the register and obtain information enabling him or her to trace the whereabouts of the adoptive parents, thus seriously risking the welfare of the child and the security of the placement, the court should, under its inherent jurisdiction, inhibit discovery to protect the child, by attaching to the adoption order an order that the Registrar General should not reveal details of the adoption without the court's leave.

Brian Jubb (Borough Solicitor) for the local authority; Charles Bloom QC and Diane Barnett (Barbara Mitchell, Norwich) for the guardian ad litem; Steven Kovats (DSS Solicitor) for the Registrar General.

Costs

R v Hughes; CA (Cr Div) (Evans LJ, Curtis, Morison JJ); 24 March 1994.

It was wrong to penalise a defendant by making her pay pounds 325 for Crown Court costs when the rejection by a magistrates' court of her plea to the appropriate charge of careless driving had led to her being tried in the Crown Court for dangerous driving, but her plea to careless driving was eventually accepted at the Crown Court. The right order was for pounds 25 costs.

Stephen Lyon (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the defendant.

Crime

R v Hamer; CA (Cr Div) (Evans LJ, Curtis, Morison JJ); 24 March 1994.

At the beginning of the trial of a number of defendants, including the appellant, all charged with violent disorder arising from an incident in which a policeman was hit, identification evidence, relating in particular to the additional charge against the appellant of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, was ruled to be inadmissible and the appellant was acquitted by the jury of that additional charge. It was therefore wrong for the judge when sentencing the appellant for the offence of violent disorder to do so on the basis that it was he who had hit the policeman, since the jury had acquitted him on that charge.

Stewart Patterson (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.

Drugs

R v Richardson and ors; CA (Cr Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ, Popplewell, Tucker JJ); 15 March 1994.

Where offences involving drugs fell within the highest category of drug trafficking, the guidelines laid down in R v Aramah (1982) 76 Cr App R 190, suggesting sentences of 12 to 14 years' imprisonment where the street value of the consignment was pounds 1m or more, had been raised by R v Bilinski (1987) 86 Cr App R 146, to '14 years and upwards'.

Where, as at the present time, the court had to deal with massive drug importations involving street values of millions of pounds, those involved could now expect to receive sentences in the region of 25 years' imprisonment or more.

Edward Fitzgerald (who did not appear below) (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for Richardson; John Traversi (Registrar) for Teixeira; Stephen Shay (not below) (Registrar) for Dean; Philip Singer (not below) (Registrar) for Tredwin; John Spokes QC and Paul Garlick (CPS) for the Crown.

Fraud

Omnivale Ltd & ors v Boldan; CA (Balcombe, Waite, Hobhous LJJ); 29 March 1994.

In determining whether a statement was made fraudulently, so that a notice to quit given under s 26(2) and Sch 3 of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 was vitiated by fraud, the question for the court was whether the person who made the statement honestly believed it to be true in the sense in which he understood it when it was made.

Michael Michell (Tallents Godfrey & Co, Newark) for the landlords; Rosslyn Lee (Myers & Co, Harrogate) for the tenant.

Identification

R v Quinn; CA (Cr Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ, Macpherson of Cluny, Steel JJ); 10 March 1994.

The procedure for conducting identification parades as set out in Code D and Annex A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s 66) Codes of Practice (2nd edn, 1991) had to be complied with by the police, who must not substitute their own procedure or their own rules for what was laid down in the statutory procedure, which could not be varied at will.

Jeremy Dein (who did not appear below) (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Graham Parkins QC and Richard Daniel (CPS) for the Crown.

Negligence

Banque Bruxelles Lambert SA v Eagle Star Ins Co Ltd & ors; QBD (Phillips J); 21 Dec 1993.

A property valuer who made negligent valuations of commercial buildings in London in 1988 and 1989, causing losses to be suffered by a bank which had made loans on the strength of those valuations, or by the bank's insurers, was only liable in damages for the loss caused by his over-valuations.

He was not liable for any additional losses attributable to the collapse in commercial property prices in London since that time.

Peter Goldsmith QC, David Railton and Timothy Howe (Linklaters & Paines) for the plaintiff bank; Mark Cran QC, Mark Hapgood and Cyril Kinsky (Lovell White Durrant) for the bank's insurers, Eagle Star; Christopher Symons QC, Ewan McQuater and Christopher Smith (David Goodman & Co) for the valuer, John D Wood Commercial Ltd.

Planning

Carter v Secretary of State for the Environment; CA (Sir Stephen Brown P, Russell, Roche LJJ); 14 March 1994.

Under s 29(1) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, 'caravan' meant a structure designed or adapted for human habitation, and capable of being moved or transported as a single structure.

A 'park home' which had to be delivered to the site by lorry in four prefabricated sections, to be bolted together and then manoeuvred into its final location by a mechanical digger, and which was not capable of being moved as a complete single structure, was not a caravan for the purpose of planning permission under s 29(1).

John Hobson (Loodes, Truro) for the appellants; Alice Robinson (Treasury Solicitor) for the respondent.

Small claims

Starmer v Bradbury; CA (Cr Div) (Beldam, Simon Brown LJJ); 16 March 1994.

Wide discretion was given to a small claims arbitrator under Ord 19, r 7 of the County Court Rules, and the arbitrator's decision was necessarily final unless misconduct or an error of law by the arbitrator could be established.

Where the dispute arose out of a road traffic accident and was essentially a question of fact, the only ground for granting leave to appeal against the award was that of misconduct, which the applicant failed to prove.

The applicant in person.

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