Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Accountant

Data Protection Registrar v Griffin; QBD (Div Ct) (Rose LJ, Waller J); 22 Feb 1993.

An accountant who places his client's accounts on his computer for the purposes of preparing accounts for the Inland Revenue or Customs and Excise or other bodies is controlling the data by manipulating it for the preparation of the accounts and is therefore required to register as a data user under s 5 of the Data Protection Act 1984.

Paul Garlick (J P Malnick & Co) for the Data Protection Registrar; the defendant did not attend and was not represented.

Animals

Bates v DPP; QBD (Div Ct) (Rose LJ, Waller J); 25 Feb 1993.

A pit bull terrier, which is defined as a fighting dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has to be muzzled even though it is securely within a car, since, although the inside of the car is not of itself a public place, once the car is in a public place what was inside it was in a public place.

Sarah Harris (Offenbach & Co) for the defendant; John McGuinness (CPS) for the prosecutor.

Hunt v Duckering; QBD (Div Ct) (Evans LJ, Morland J); 15 March 1993.

The owner of an animal abandons the animal within the Protection of Animals Act 1911 as applied by the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960 if he totally relinquishes his duty of care for that animal by physically leaving the animals in circumstances where suffering was likely to occur. If the owner attempts to make arrangements for the animal's welfare, he has not abandoned if even though the arrangements are insufficient to prevent suffering.

Rex Bryan (Chancellors, Bexley Heath) for the defendant; Caroline Topping (Argles & Court, Maidstone) for the prosecution.

Defamation

Fraser v Mirza; HL (Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Slynn of Hadley and Lord Woolf); 25 Feb 1993.

Although the making of a complaint by a citizen about the conduct of a police officer was a privileged occasion, that qualified privilege was lost if he misused the occasion by acting from some improper motive which was dominant in his mind amounting to express malice when making the defamatory communication.

M S Jones QC and P S Hodge, both of the Scottish Bar (Bayer- Rosin for Allan McDougall & Co S S C, Edinburgh) for the appellant; J L Mitchell QC and J J Mitchaell QC, both of the Scottish Bar (Radcliffes & Co for Macbeth Currie & Co W S, Edinburgh) for the respondent.

Negligence

Petch v Commissioners of Customs and Excise; CA (Dillon, Beldam, Roch LJJ); 19 Feb 1993.

An employer owed no duty of care to an ex-employee when giving answers to queries about the ex-employee's work record put to the employer by pension scheme trustees from whom the ex-employee was seeking a financial benefit.

Genevra Caws QC and Sara Williams (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the employer; the plaintiff in person.

Pleading

Republic of India and ors v India Steamship Co Ltd: Indian Endurance; HL (Lord Temple man, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Mustill and Lord Slynn of Hadley); 18 Feb 1993.

Where the appellants obtained judgment in India against the respondents for loss of part of a cargo and then brought an action in England claiming for the total loss, s 34 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 applied since there was identity of the causes of action which arose out of a single incident. However, although s 34 constituted a bar against proceedings by the appellants, it might be the subject of waiver or estoppel with the result that the general rule of public policy enshrined in the principle of res judicata was subject to that particular exception.

Jonathan Sumption QC and Timothy Charlton (Clyde & Co) for the appellants; Stewart C Boyd and Jeffrey Gruder (Ince & Co) for the respondents.

Pollution

Thanet District Council v Kent County Council; QBD (DC) (Farquharson LJ, Wright J); 26 Feb 1993.

Since the term 'controlled waste' in s 30(1) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 was limited and restricted to household, industrial or commercial water or permutation thereof, seaweed on beaches brought there by wind and tide did not fall within the section. Therefore the defendant council was not required to hold a waste disposal licence in respect of a site where it deposited seaweed removed from local beaches under its control.

Charles Gratwicke (Council Solicitor) for Thanet; Simon Blackford (Council Solicitor) for Kent.

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