Law Report: Case Summaries

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


Re M (a minor); CA (Balcombe, Rose, Peter Gibson LJJ); 15 Oct 1993.

The first of the threshold conditions in s 31(2) of the Children Act 1989 is not fulfilled unless the court is satisfied at the date of the hearing that (1) the child is then suffering significant harm and (2) the harm is attributable to the care given to him or her not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give.

Roger Hayward Smith QC and Laura Harris (Hudgell & Ptrs, Woolwich) for the third respondent; Sandra Graham (Solicitor, Greenwich LBC) for the applicant; Elizabeth-Ann Gumbel (Meaby & Co) for the first respondent; Joanna Dobson QC and Mhairi McNab (Cliffords, Dulwich) for the guardian ad litem.


Langley v Langley; CA (Russell, Staughton, Steyn LJJ); 7 Oct 1993.

It was not an appropriate use of the County Court slip rule, Ord 15, r 5, to make an alteration to an order extending an injunction, if the respondent was not represented. Cases involving injunctions and their potential consequences were always important, and while the Court of Appeal would always assist by amending orders made below, those powers would only be used exceptionally in contempt cases. Here, the committal order could not possibly stand since none of the mandatory requirements of CCR Ord 29, r 1 had been complied with.

Lee Young (Anderton & Co, Portsmouth) for the appellant; Paul McCormick (Churchers, Lee on Solent) for the respondent.

Judicial review

R v Worthing BC, ex p Bruce; CA (Russell, Staughton, Steyn LJJ); 19 Oct 1993.

A consent order reached after the third day of the hearing of the applicant's claim against a local authority, arising out of his contention that he was a secure tenant under the Housing Act and therefore had the right to buy his flat, was not susceptible to judicial review because in the circumstances it was perfectly proper to imply an admission in the terms of the order itself, which the judge had accepted, since the order was drafted by counsel and had been fully consented to by the appellant himself.

Robin Allen (did not appear below) (Tarleton Davies, Kent) for the appellant; Malcolm Gibney (Solicitor, Worthing BC) for the respondent.


R v Inner London Crown Court, ex p Sitki; CA (Russell, Staughton, Steyn LJJ); 20 Oct 1993.

In deciding whether a justices' on-licence was invalid, or whether a no-beer condition attached to the licence could be severed from it, the test to be adopted was whether, had the condition been withdrawn, the justices would nevertheless have granted the licence (see H W R Wade, Administrative Law, 6th edn, p339).

Philip Engleman (Dianne Rocks, Greenwich) for the applicant; James Rankin (C Porteous, Metropolitan Police Solicitor) for the respondent.


R v Ettrick Trout Co Ltd & anr; CA (Cr Div) (McCowan LJ, Ognall, Gage JJ); 19 Oct 1993.

On a charge of permitting trade effluent to be discharged into controlled waters contrary to s 107(1)(c) of the Water Act 1989, the defence was not permitted to mount a collateral challenge alleging the invalidity of the relevant consent discharge order. Proceedings for judicial review were the appropriate means of making such a challenge, and it was an abuse of criminal procedure to attempt to invite the jury to conclude, on expert opinion evidence 13 years after the making of the order, that as a matter of law, based on the application of public law principles, the volume of the discharge condition was invalid.

John Bates (Hepherd, Winstanley & Pugh, Southampton) for the appellant; Nigel Pleming QC (Peter Bilborough) for the National Rivers Authority.


Whittles (Inspector of Taxes) v Uniholdings Ltd (No 2); ChD (Vinelott J); 21 Oct 1993.

The court took the unprecedented step of remitting a case stated for the opinion of the High Court by a special commissioner of income tax to the commissioner for the second time. The first time the case was remitted to clarify whether, in referring to 'a single composite transaction', he had used the phrase in the sense in which it was used in W T Ramsey Ltd v IRC (1982) AC 300. The commissioner answered that he had not. The taxpayer, having understood the phrase in the Ramsay sense, and having refrained from calling additional evidence relying on an admission made by the Revenue at the hearing, had asked for the opportunity to call further evidence which it would have adduced had it been aware of the tax commissioner's intended meaning.

Launcelot Henderson (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown); Andrew Thornhill QC and Giles Goodfellow (Herbert Smith) for the taxpayer.

CORRECTION: Junior counsel for the second applicants, J Sainsbury plc, in R v Thurrock Borough Council, ex p Tesco Stores Ltd and others (the Independent, 28 Oct 1993) was Russell Harris.