CASE SUMMARIES: 1 January 1996

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

Companies

Practice Direction No 2 of 1995: Directors' Disqualification; ChD Cos Ct (Sir Richard Scott V-C) 14 Dec 1995.

The overall effect of this new practice direction would be to give the court greater control over the conduct of disqualification proceedings, so as to enable it to dealt with them as expeditiously as possible.

Drink-driving

Webber v DPP; QB Div Ct (Schiemann LJ, Holland J) 4 Dec 1995.

Once a police officer had lawfully set in train the procedure, under s 9(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, for requiring a specimen of blood from a person taken into hospital after a road accident, that requirement remained valid after the person had been discharged, had been arrested under s 6(5)(b) of the Act and the procedure continued at the police station, since the locus at which the specimen was provided was not vital.

Keith Hadrill (Kidd MacLaverty & Co) for the appellant; John McGuinness (CPS) for the respondent.

Natural justice

R v Ealing Magistrates' Court, ex p Fanneran; QB Div Ct (Staughton LJ, Rougier J) 22 Nov 1995.

The failure to notify a dog's owner of proceedings in the magistrates' court against a third party, which proceedings resulted in a destruction order being made under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, constituted a breach of natural justice. Even though it was probable that nothing the owner could have said would have prevented the order being made, the court would have to think long and hard before upholding a decision where the rules of natural justice had been breached, since down that slippery slope lay the way to dictatorship.

Sandy Canavan (Sharratts, Canterbury) for the applicant; Stephen John (Special Casework Unit) for the respondent.

Practice

Unicargo v Flotec Maritime S de RL & anr; QB Adm Ct (Clarke J) 16 Nov 1995.

The court had no jurisdiction to give leave to serve the originating summons out of the jurisdiction under RSC Ord 73 r 7 where the defendants were not parties to any arbitration agreement with the plaintiff and the plaintiff had no other cause of action against them. Accordingly the order, which had provided that the owners of the chartered vessel were to allow the plaintiff to inspect and survey the vessel, had to be discharged.

Simon Kverndal (Barlow Lyde & Gilbert) for the plaintiffs; David Bailey (Norton Rose) for the defendants.

Rating

R v Birmingham City Council, ex p Mushtaq; QBD (Dyson J) 11 Dec 1995.

The council was entitled to request a solicitor, who was setting up in business as a sole practitioner, for details of her personal assets before deciding whether she was suffering hardship such as would bring her within the provisions of s 49(2) of the Local Government and Finance Act 1988, and thus to entitle her to a reduction in her non-domestic rates.

Christopher Gibbons (Mushtaq & Co, Birmingham) for the applicant; Tobias Davey (Birmingham City Council) for the respondent.

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