Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Care proceedings

Re F ( a minor); FD (Wall J); 25 Oct 1993.

Proceedings in the family proceedings courts were non- adversarial. Advocates had a duty to advise justices if they were about to make a fundamental error or embark on an approach which was procedurally incorrect. Furthermore, on the consequent appeal, where legal advisers were agreed that the issues were similar or identical and the appeal should be allowed, they should seriously consider the propriety of attendance under separate legal aid certificates, as the court might exercise its discretion to disallow costs where unnecessary representation had been made. In the present appeal the normal order for costs was made.

Dingle Clark (Dilworth Lamb & Co, Orpington) for the father; Charles Geekie (Borough Solicitor) for Bromley Borough Council; Jonathan Lurie (DJ Griffiths & Co) for the mother; Patricia Dangor (Atkins Hope) for the guardian ad litem.

Oxfordshire County Council v M; CA (Sir Stephen Brown P, Steyn, Kennedy LJJ); 27 Oct 1993.

In care proceedings under the Children Act 1989, since the welfare of the child was the sole and overriding principle and the proceedings were essentially non-adversarial with judges adopting an interventionist and investigative role, the court had power to override legal professional privilege attached to experts' reports as yielding to the welfare principle. A party was obliged to disclose all experts' reports, otherwise an unfavourable report might be suppressed to the detriment of the child's best interests. However that did not mean legal professional privilege had no role to play. The promotion of the welfare of the child did not require the disclosure of communications between the client and lawyer which were immaterial to the judgment of the court.

Jonathan Baker (Bower & Bailey, Oxford) for the appellant; Georgina Middleton (Linnells, Oxford; Sally Max (Hedges & Son, Didcot) for the respondents; Leo Curran (Sidney Barling, Oxford) for the local authority; Joanna Hall (Richard Pooler & Co, Oxford) for the guardian ad litem.


R v Chan-Fook; CA (Crim Div)(Hobhouse LJ, Judge, Bell JJ); 22 Oct 1993.

The phrase 'actual bodily harm' is capable of including psychiatric injury, but it does not include mere emotions such as fear, distress or panic, nor states of mind that are not themselves evidence of some identifiable clinical condition, and use of the phrase 'state of mind' should be avoided. In any case where psychiatric injury is relied upon as the basis for an allegation of bodily harm and it is not admitted by the defence, the Crown should call expert evidence, and in its absence the question should not be left to the jury.

Philip Sapsford QC and Charles Salter (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Brian Barker QC and Rupert Overbury (CPS) for the Crown.


Riverside Mental Health NHS Trust v Fox; CA (Sir Stephen Brown P, Leggatt, Kennedy LJJ); 25 Oct 1993.

Under English law the court has no jurisdiction to grant interim declaratory relief. An ex parte order allowing a hospital to force-feed a patient detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 for treatment for anorexia nervosa with directions that the case be adjourned and heard inter partes at the earliest date was clearly an interim declaratory order and should be set aside.

Richard Gordon (Fisher Meredith) for the appellant; Simon Readhead (Radcliffes & Co) for the respondent.

Local authority

Knowles v Liverpool City Council; HL (Lord Keith of Kinkell, Lord Templeman, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Browne-Wilkinson and Lord Mustill); 14 Oct 1993.

An employee who suffers personal injury as a consequence of a defect in an article provided for the purpose of his employer's business has a cause of action against the employer under s 1 of the Employers' Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969. The council was liable for damages for an injury to an employee, a labourer flagger, caused by a defective flagstone when he was repairing a pavement. The flagstone was 'equipment' for the purposes of s 1(1).

William Braithwaite QC and Tania Griffiths (City Solicitor) for the council; Brian Leveson QC and John Benson (Brian Thompson & Partners, Liverpool) for Mr Knowles.


Hall (Inspector of Taxes) v Lorimer; CA (Dillon, Nolan, Roch LJJ); 5 Nov 1993.

A 'vision mixer' working for a large number of television production companies, each engagement lasting generally only one or two days, was taxable under Sch D and was not an employee of multiple employers taxable under Sch E. Although factors usually indicative that a person was in business on his own account, such as control of the work, provision of equipment, hiring of helpers, financial risk and responsibility for investment and management were not present since the taxpayer provided only his skill and labour, nevertheless because of the number of clients, the short duration of his engagements and the risk of bad debts, it could be said the taxpayer was self-employed.

Peter Goldsmith QC and Launcelot Henderson (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; Stephen Allcock QC and Andrew Hitchmough (Simmons & Simmons) for the taxpayer.