Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Doctor

Khan v General Medical Council; CA (Neill, Hoffmann, Waite LJJ); 8 Feb 1994.

An industrial tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear a complaint of indirect racial discrimination brought by a general medical practitioner who was refused full registration after five years of limited registration since the review procedure of such a refusal provided by ss 25, 28 and 29 of the Medical Act 1983 was a proceeding in the nature of an appeal for the purposes of s 54(2) of the Race Relations Act 1976 and thereby barred from complaint to an industrial tribunal.

Robin Allen and T Kibling (Pictons, Hemel Hempstead) for the doctor; R Griffiths QC and Timothy Straker (Field Fisher Waterhouse) for the General Medical Council.

Human rights

Stanford v United Kingdom; ECJ; 23 Feb 1994.

A defendant's difficulty in hearing some of the evidence given at his trial for charges of rape and indecent assault did not amount to a violation of his right to fair hearing within art 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Although the glass screen in front of the dock caused a minimal loss of sound the acoustic levels in the court room were satisfactory.

The defendant was ably defended at the trial by his counsel and solicitor, who had no difficulty in following the proceedings, and who for tactical reasons had remained silent about the defendant's difficulty.

Patents

Chiron Corp v Organon Teknika Ltd; Same v Murex Diagnostics; ChD (Aldous J); 23 March 1994.

There was no duty on a patentee to tell the Patent Office of matters that could affect prosecution of a patent application.

In most cases it would be wise for a patentee to keep the Patent Office informed, as a failure to do so could be relevant to the court's exercise of discretion on amendment and also could amount to lack of good faith.

But s 63(2) of the Patents Act 1977 (which provided for the enforcement and amendment of partially valid patents so long as they were framed in good faith and with reasonable skill and knowlege) was concerned with the framing of the specification, not with transfer of information to the Patent Office. Thus, if the specification was not competently framed, the section would not be satisfied whether or not the Patent Office had been kept fully informed.

Equally, failure to tell the Patent Office of relevant facts would not convert a competently framed specificaiton into one that was not competently framed.

Antony Watson QC, David Kitchen and Richard Meade (Bristows Cook & Carpmael) for Chiron; Simon Thorley QC and Richard Haycon (Simmonds & Simmonds; Herbert Smith; Needham & Grant) for the defendants.

Chiron Corp v Murex Diagnostics Ltd; Same v Organon Teknika; ChD (Aldous J); 4 Feb 1994.

The validity of a patent was res judicata and could not be relitigated notwithstanding that experiments prior to the previous action had been conducted under impossibly severe time restraints.

The validity of the plaintiff's patents having been upheld in the previous action, the defendants could not challenge it in their defences to a new action alleging infringement, and that part of their defences should be struck out.

Antony Watson QC, David Kitchen and Richard Meade (Bristows Cook & Carpmael) for Chiron; Peter Prescott QC, Richard Haycon and Daniel Alexander (Needham & Grant; Herbert Smith) for Murex and Organon.

Sentencing

R v Rogan; CA (Crim Div)(Evans LJ, Curtis, Morison JJ); 15 March 1994.

A trial judge was not debarred from passing sentence without pre-sentence reports, but in circumstances where the defendant was under 17 years of age and the offences charged were burglary and reckless arson and the court correctly had in mind a long term of detention, the judge had been wrong to pass sentence immediately.

Mark Walker (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.

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