Law Report: Case Summaries

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Adoption

Re: P (minors); CA (Butler- Sloss, McCowan LJJ, Sir Ralph Gibson); 8 July 1994.

A judge who made an order declaring two children free for adoption and dispensed with the natural mother's agreement on the ground that it was being unreasonably withheld pursuant to s 18 of the Act 1976, after concluding that continuing contact with the mother should be a precondition of any adoption, had fallen between two stools. He should either have said that there should be an adoption in any event, although contact was desirable, or he should have left it to the adoption application so that, at that stage, the mother could fight her corner and argue for contact. His decision to dispense with the mother's agreement could not stand.

Robin Tolson (Gill Akaster, Plymouth) for the mother; Ralph Dixon (Philip Jenkinson, Exeter) for the local authority; Catriona Duthie (Wolferstans, Plymouth) for the guardian ad litem.

Compensation

DPP v Scott; QB Div Ct (Rose LJ, Smith J); 5 July 1994.

The word 'payable' in s 35 (3)(b)(ii) of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 referred to compensation which would become payable at a future date, once judgment had been given in a civil case to recover damages from an uninsured defendant, and not damages that were immediately due and owing.

Justices were correct to limit the compensation made against an uninsured defendant to pounds 175, which represented the unrecovered excess under the agreement between the Secretary of State for Transport and the Motor Insurers' Bureau.

Ian Glen (CPS) for the DPP; the respondents did not appear.

Costs

McDonald & ors v Horn & ors; CA (Balcombe, Hirst, Hoffmann LJJ); 29 July 1994.

Where members of a pension scheme brought an action against the pension fund trustees, alleging breaches of trust, the court had jurisdiction under s 51 of the Supreme Court Act 1981, to make a pre- emptive costs order requiring the plaintiff's costs, and any costs which they might be ordered to pay to the defendants, to be paid on an indemnity basis out of the pension fund.

Jules Sher QC, Nicholas Warren QC, Richard Hitchcock (DJ Freeman & Co; Nabarro Nathanson) for the appellants; Terence Etherton QC, Alastair Walton (Dibb Lupton Broomhead) for the respondents.

Financial Services

Melton Medes Ltd & anr v Securities & Investments Board; ChD (Lightman J); 12 July 1994.

Disclosure of restricted information in contravention of s 179 of the Financial Services Act 1986 did not give rise to a cause of action at the instance of the source of the restricted information on the person to whom the restricted information related.

Edward Bannister QC (DJ Freeman & Co) for the plaintiffs; David Mayhew, solicitor (Clifford Chance) for the defendant.

Licensing

R v Maidstone Crown Court, ex p Harris & anr; QBD (Schiemann J); 7 July 1994.

An incorporated association was a 'person' within the meaning of s 20A of the Licensing Act 1964 and could bring proceedings to revoke a justices' 'on' licence, since there were no policy reasons why Parliament should have excluded limited companies or bodies incorporate from making applications under the section and Parliament had not set out any qualifications which might have indicated a need to restrict applications to those by natural persons.

John Saunders QC (Jeffrey Green Russell) for the applicants; David Whitehouse QC, Elaine Webb (Albery & Hatch, Bromley) for Premier Leisure UK plc and the Dartford Licensed Victuallers' Association.

Local Government

R v Local Government Commission for England and Wales & anr, ex p Cleveland County Council; QB Div Ct (Staughton LJ, Buckley J); 28 June 1994.

The approval by the Secretary of State for the Environment of recommendations by the commission for structural changes in a region's local government, under s 17 of the Local Government Act 1992, was no bar to the introduction of further changes.

The commssion had recommended that Cleveland County Council be abolished and replaced by one-tier government based on the four existing district councils in the region, and that they should share responsibility for strategic planning with Darlington, in County Durham. The Secretary of State had approved those recommendations except as to co-operation with Darlington, having ordered the commission to reconsider its report on Durham as a whole.

Cleveland argued that the Secretary of State should have referred Cleveland back as well, and that having accepted the Cleveland recommendations with a modification, he could not thereafter given effect to the proposed link with Darlington.

But in fact the Secretary of State had not yet made an order giving effect to the Cleveland recommendations, and even if he had, he could return to the matter under ss 17(4), 19 and 26(4). It was hard to imagine wider powers.

Elizabeth Appleby QC, Clive Lewis (Sharpe Pritchard, for David Ashton, Middlesborough) for Cleveland; Andrew Collins QC, Robert Jay (Treasury Solicitor) for the commission.

Misrepresentation

Thomas Witler Ltd v TBP Industries Ltd; ChD (Jacob J); 15 July 1994.

The power to award damages under s 2(2) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967 did not depend on an extant right to rescission: it only depended upon a right having existed in the past.

Martin Mann QC, Richard Perkoff (DJ Freeman & Co) for the plaintiff; Roger Kaye QC, David Foxton (Masons) for the defendant.

Practice

Khanna v Lovell White Durrant; ChD (Sir Donald Nicholls V-C); 5 July 1994.

The court would not accede to an application to set aside a writ of subpoena duces tecum on the ground that the writ called for documents to be produced on a day in advance of the day fixed for commencement of the trial, since the practice of requiring production of documents before the trial had much to recommend it.

CA Brodie QC (Sheridans) for the plaintiff; Rory Phillips (Herbert Smith) for the person served with the writ; Andrew Mitchell (Reynolds Porter Chamberlain) for the defendant.

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