Law Reports: CASE SUMMARIES; 22 June 1998

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

Extradition

Re Gross; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Hooper J) 4 June 1998.

THE PROCEDURAL change in domestic committal proceedings did not deprive a fugitive offender in extradition committal proceedings from giving or calling evidence, since the amendment to para 7(1) of Sch 1 to the Extradition Act 1989 postulated that a magistrate conducting a committal in extradition proceedings was engaged on a summary trial, and, further, the new s 35(3) of the 1989 Act made it clear that such evidence could be given.

Alun Jones QC, Leah Saffian (Goldsmiths) for the applicant; Andrew Coleman (CPS) for the respondents.

Libel

Wilson and ors v Christie; CA (Stuart Smith, Brooke LJJ, Sir John Knox) 11 June 1998.

A SOLICITOR advocate who had acted as a libel reader for a defendant and who had advised that an article was not libellous was not disbarred from subsequently representing that defendant, since on a true construction of para 4.1(e) of the Law Society's Code for Advocacy, there was a clear distinction between deciding on a course of action and advising on a course of action. Only where the solicitor advocate had taken the decision himself would he be in breach of his professional duty in accepting instructions to act.

David Price (David Price & Co) for the second defendant; Patrick Maloney QC (Russells) for the plaintiff).

VAT

Rahman (t/a Khayam Restaurant) v Commrs of Customs & Excise; QBD (Carnwath J) 11 June 1998.

THE TWO-stage approach in Van Boeckel v Commrs of Customs & Excise [1981] 1 STC 290, that the VAT tribunal should first decide whether an assessment made under s 73 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 was made to the best of the officer's judgment, and if so whether the amount was correct, could lead the tribunal into placing undue emphasis on the "best of judgment" question. It was very unusual that an assessment would be totally rejected, but the tribunal's main task was to reach a fair conclusion as to amount.

Marion Lonsdale (Salusburys Robinson & Turner, Leicester) for the taxpayer; Richard Barlow (Solicitor, C & E) for the Crown.

Defendant's costs order

Coles v DPP; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Hooper J); 12 June 1998.

JUSTICES WERE empowered to make a defendant's costs order under s 16 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 where the prosecution had withdrawn all charges against the defendant, because the defendant had been an accused person and was therefore in the same position as a defendant who had been acquitted. It followed that, having made a defendant's costs order in those circumstances, justices could not subsequently rescind the order under s 142 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, since the power under that section only extended to cases where a defendant had been found guilty.

David Bold (Hywel Davies A'I Gwymni, Y Bala) for the appellant; the respondent did not appear and was not represented.

Advertisements

Westminster City Council v Moran; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Hooper J) 12 June 1998.

THE WORD "continually" in Class 13, Sch 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 had been precisely chosen and was intended to encompass advertising which was regularly recurring, not advertising which was continuous.

Suzanne Reeve (City Solicitor and Secretary, Westminster City Council) for the appellant; the respondent did not appear and was not represented.

Magistrates' courts

Kent County Council v Curtis; QBD (Div Ct) (Simon Brown LJ, Hooper J) 15 June 1998.

ONCE JUSTICES had reached and pronounced their decision on informations before them, subject only to the slip rule in s 142 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, they were strictly functus officio and ought not to receive or act on any advice given by their clerk. Moreover, they could not state fresh conclusions in a stated case since, in that situation, a respondent would have no opportunity to challenge any matter arising from those new conclusions, should he wish to do so.

Joanna Clayton (Solicitor, Kent County Council) for the appellant; the respondent appeared in person.

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