Law Report: Case Summaries

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The Independent Culture
THE following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports:

Care allowance

Miller v Secretary of State for social Security; CA (Staughton, Waite, Peter Gibson LJJ); 27 April 1994.

A disabled person who was the night-time carer for her disabled husband did not qualify for the night attendance allowance under s 35(1)(b)(ii) of the Social Security Act 1975 because her husband was already in receipt of an attendance allowance and the section was concerned with the claimant's needs.

Helen Mountfield (Penny Wood, CPAG) for the appellant; J R McManus (DSS) for the respondent.

Landlord and tenant

O'Sullivan v Barnett & anr; CA (Butler-Sloss, Hirst LJJ); 5 May 1994.

The purpose of s 12(1)(b)(i) of the Rent Act 1977 was to encourage resident owners of houses with rooms to spare to let them, with the assurance that they would be able to recover possession at the end of the contractual tenancy, and also to enable them to sell with vacant possession. Accordingly, where landlords and their tenant moved together from one building to another by mutual assent, the tenant having accepted the offer of a tenancy in the new building in place of the old, the landlords were to be regarded as being in occupation of the remainder of the building at the time they granted the tenancy to the tenant even though they moved there shortly after the tenant. It was purely fortuitous that it was convenient and sensible for the defendant to move first.

Mark Wonnacott (Mildred & Beaumont) for the tenant; Chris Maynard (Preston-Rouse & Co) for the landlords.


Dobbie v Medway Health Authority; CA (Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Beldam, Steyn LJJ); 11 May 1994.

The effect of ss 11(4)(b) and 14(1)(b) of the Limitation Act 1980 was to postpone the running of time until the claimant had knowledge that the personal injury on which he founded his claim was wholly or partly attributable to the act or omission of the defendant on which his claim in negligence was founded. 'Attributable to' meant 'capable of being attributed to' and not 'caused by', and the words 'act or omission' did not import any requirement that such act or omission should be actionable or tortious. Knowledge of fault or negligence was not needed to start time running.

James Bedenoch QC, Neil Sanders (Thomson Snell & Passmore, Tunbridge Wells) for the appellant; Michael Douglas (Brachers, Maidstone) for the respondent.


R v Chief Constable of West Midlands, ex p Carroll; CA (Balcombe, McCowan, Rose LJJ); 10 May 1994.

A police probationer against whom allegations of misconduct, which he denied, had been made, should have been charged with offences against discipline and formal disciplinary proceedings held. The Chief Constable had broken the duty of fairness by merely dispensing with his services under reg 17(1) of the Police Regulations (SI 1989/851) since he had been given no chance to defend himself.

Gavin Millar (Russell Jones & Walker) for the applicant; Nicholas Ainley (WM Police Authority solicitor) for the Chief Constable.

Obscene publications

R v Sullivan; CA (Cr Div) (Kennedy LJ, Hidden, Bell JJ); 20 April 1994.

Where a defendant was alleged to have control of obscene articles with a view to their publication by sale or offer for sale in sex shops, rather than to have published them, the judge, in directing the jury on the question of obscenity, should read together the provisions of s 1(1) and (3) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and s 1(3)(b) of the Obscene Publications Act 1964 and, if he had any doubts about his proposed direction, he should commit it to writing and invite counsel to comment before they made their closing speeches to the jury.

Charles Salter (Wilson Barca) for the appellant; R Simon Davis (CPS) for the Crown.