Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Crime

R v Murray: CA(Crim Div)(Russell LJ, Alliott, Mance JJ); 10 June 1994.

Where on a count of reckless driving in an incident involving two cars, the defendant had alleged it was the driver of the other car who had driven recklessly and that the behaviour of the occupants of the other car was so frightening that it had caused the defendant to drive recklessly out of fear, the exclusion of the knowledge of the previous convictions of the other driver was a material irregularity in the trial.

R C Herman (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; John Lever (CPS) for the Crown.

Discovery

Arbuthnott v Fagan; CA(Sir Stephen Brown P, Staughton, Rose LJJ); 21 June 1994.

Evidence contained in transcripts of evidence given before a loss review committee appointed by the Council of Lloyd's in relation to the circumstances giving rise to certain losses was not exempt from disclosure in subsequent proceedings brought by names claiming negligent underwriting. It was doubtful whether the exempting provision in the Information and Confidentiality Byelaw No 21 of 1993 made under the Lloyd's Act 1982 applied to discovery in a civil action but if it did, it only applied to information which the name had obtained as a result of his exercise of powers under the Lloyd's Acts. It did not apply to information which he already possessed before those powers were invoked.

Peregrine Simon QC and Christopher Butcher (Elborne Mitchell) for the names' agents; Jeremy Cooke QC and Marcus Smith (Richards Butler) for the names; Mark Barnes QC (Clifford Chance) for the underwriting agencies.

Dogs

DPP v Kellett; QBD(DC) (McCowan LJ, Buxton J); 17 June 1994.

A person who was wholly unaware because of intoxication that a dangerous dog under her control had escaped was guilty of an offence under s 1 of the Dangeous Dogs Act 1991 of allowing a pit-bull terrier to be in a public place without a muzzle and not on a lead, since intoxication could not give rise to a defence where, as here, the crime was not one of specific intent. However, although the court did not decide the point, it was tentatively of the view that as the offence under s 1 was not one of strict liability it might be that a person who had been totally unaware that such a dog was at large, where no intoxication was involved, would not have the necessary mens rea to be found guilty.

John McGuinness (CPS) for the DPP; Helen Valley (Dundons) for the defendant.

Practice

Baldock v Addison and others; ChD(Lightman J); 22 June 1994.

Although the court has a discretion in the case of a split trial whether or not to limit discovery to the issue of liability, in all ordinary cases the discretion will be exercised in favour of imposing the limitation.

Robert Howe (Clintons) for the plaintiff; Mark Hoyle (Eatons) for the defendants.

Revenue

Petch v Gurney (Inspector of Taxes); CA(Millett, Henry LJJ); 27 May 1994.

The time limit in the Taxes Management Act 1970, s 56(4) for transmitting a case stated to the High Court within 30 days of receiving it was mandatory and the court had no discretion to extend it.

Valleybright Ltd (in liq) v Richardson (HMIT) (1985) STC 70 and Brassington v Guthrie (HMIT) (1992) STC 47.

The taxpayer in person; Launcelot Henderson (Inland Revenue Solicitor)for the Crown.

Value added tax

Customs & Excise Commissioners vLewis; QBD(Brooke J); 8 June 1994.

Zero-rating for VAT on supplies of building works carried out in the construction of a dwelling house were excluded if the works amounted to the 'conversion, reconstruction, alteration or enlargement of an existing building'. The question whether a house construction incorporating the remains of a derelict barn was work on an existing building was a question of fact for the VAT tribunal. The court could not interfer with the tribunal's decision if there had been no misdirection of law.

Melanie Hall (Customs & Excise solicitor) for the commissioners; Stephen Silman (Lewis Holman & Lawrence, Lewes) for the taxpayer.

Rayner & Keeler Ltd v Customs & Excise Commissioners; QBD(Owen J); 25 May 1994.

A large complex contract for the complete fitting out of a shop, which comprised the supply of many different items of both goods and services, was a contract for multiple supplies to be regarded separately for VAT purposes. There was not one contract for the supply of shop-fitting services which incidentally included supplies of goods.

Roderick Cordara and Perdita Cargill-Thompson (HH Mainprice) for the taxpayer; Kenneth Parker QC (Customs & Excise) for the commissioners.

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