Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Agency

Bailey v de Kerangot and ors; CA (Mann, Hirst LJJ). 7 December 1993.

Although the description 'Clipper International Communications' without the suffix SARL was apt to connote or describe a business name it was not apt to connote or describe its corporate status. The omission of the suffix constituted a material non-disclosure and brought into play the principle in Bowstead on Agency, 15th ed, art 105, p532, namely that where the principal is undisclosed at the time of contracting, the contract is made with the agent and he is personally liable and entitled on it.

David Lord (Payne Hicks Beach) for the plaintiff; Peter Brunner (Russell-Cooke Potter & Chapman) for the second and third defendants.

Children

Re S (a minor); CA (Simon Brown LJ, Sir Francis Purchas). 3 December 1993.

Where a care order was made and the nature and extent of contact was an integral part of the local authority's plans for the rehabilitation of the child with his parents, the judge's reconsideration of contact would in effect be reviewing the implementation of the care plan and straying into the unforbidden territory of supervising the local authority's plans for rehabilitation. The judge had no jurisdiction to make an order that the issue of contact was to be listed for further directions.

John Reddish (County Solicitor) Surrey County Council; Meena Gill (Hart Brown & Co, Guildford; Bells, Kingston-upon- Thames) the mother and the father; Richard Kingsley (Owen White) the guardian ad litem.

Crime

R v Smith; CA (Crim Div (Leggatt LJ, French, Curtis JJ). 3 December 1993.

Where lies told by the defendant were relied on by the Crown to support evidence that the defendant had had an opportunity to commit the offence in question, the failure by the judge to direct the jury that they had to be satisfied that there was no innocent motive for the lies was a material misdirection.

John Perry QC and Jeremy Dein (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Peter W Clarke (CPS) for the Crown.

Practice Statement

Commercial Court: Alternative dispute resolution; QBD (Comm Ct) (Cresswell J). 10 December 1993.

Although the Commercial Court remained the appropriate forum for deciding commercial cases, legal advisers should ensure that parties considered using alternative dispute resolution in appropriate cases, such as where the costs of litigation would be wholly disproportionate to the amount at stake.

Patents

Chaplin Patents Holding Co Inc v Group Lotus plc and anr; CA (Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Rose, Waite LJJ). 17 December 1993.

In considering whether to transfer a patent action from the Patents County Court to the High Court, the judge of the Patents County Court had to have regard to the financial position of the parties. He was no obliged to transfer if it was shown that the proceedings were likely to raise an important question of fact or law. But he should bear in mind that the Patents County Court was established to handle the smaller, shorter, less complex, less important, lower value actions. The the decision turned on what the interests of justice required and that meant taking account not only the interests of the plaintiff who wanted to pursue his action in the Patents County Court but also the interests of the defendant who wanted his liablity determined in the High Court.

Simon Thorley QC (Hopkins & Wood) for the appellants; Henry Carr (Simmons & Simmons) for the respondents.

Value added tax

House (t/a P & J Autos) v Customs & Excise Commissioners; QBD (May J). 10 December 1993.

A single global assessment for VAT covering more than one prescribed accounting period may be made even if information was available to Customs and Excise to make separate assessments. Such an assessment was valid where the taxpayer could work out, from a letter and schedule prepared by Customs and Excise, for what period and in what amounts the assessment was for. The precise accounting periods need not appear on the customs printed form of assessment.

Roderick Cordara (HH Mainprice) for the taxpayer; Guy Sankey (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown.

Customs and Excise Commissioners v Rosner; QBD (Latham J). 15 December 1993.

The test in deciding whether VAT paid on legal expenses incurred in defending a criminal charge was deductible from a taxable person's VAT liability was whether there was a sufficient nexus between the alleged criminal activity and the business of the taxable person. The test was not the seriousness of the effect of the criminal prosecution on the business where the offence was wholly unconnected with the business.

Melanie Hall (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown; the taxpayer did not appear.

Legal aid

Middleton v Middleton; CA (Balcombe, Peter Gibson LJJ, Sir Tasker Watkins). 14 December 1993.

The Legal Aid Act 1988 confers no power and the court has no inherent power to extend the time for filing an affidavit of costs and resources under reg 142(a) of the Civl Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989.

Nigel Pitt (Legal Aid Board) for the board; Mark Everall (David Burrows, Clevedon) for the husband.

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