Case Summaries; 15 November 1999

THE FOLLOWING notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Highway

R v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and anor, ex p Masters and anor; QBD, Crown Office List (Hooper J) 1 Oct 1999.

THE DEFINITION of byway in s 66(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act Act should be construed in a purposive manner, the purpose being to distinguish byways from ordinary roads. The definition did not seek to limit byways to those which were currently and actually used by the public mainly for the purpose for which footpaths and bridleways were used.

George Laurence QC, Louise Davies (Thrings & Long, Bath) for the applicants; John Hobson (Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretary of State; Edwin Simpson (Andrew North) for Somerset County Council.

Firearms

R v Chelmsford Crown Court, ex p Farrer; QBD, Crown Office List (Hooper J) 1 Oct 1999.

THE CROWN Court erred in its consideration of an appeal against the refusal to renew shotgun and firearm certificates in so far as it concentrated on the question whether an unauthorised person had been in unlawful possession of the guns. The court should instead have asked the question whether the guns were, in the circumstances, "stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access to [them] by an unauthorised person" within the conditions laid down in rr 3(4) and 4(4) of the Firearms Rules 1989.

Richard Beckett QC, James Rankin (Farrer & Co) for the applicant; Bruce Silvester (Chief Executive, Essex County Council) for the respondent.

Judicial review

R v Bridgend County Borough Council, ex p Jones (t/a Shamrock Coaches); QBD, Crown Office List (Kay J) 1 Oct 1999.

THE FACT that a public body carried out a tendering process pursuant to mandatory statutory provisions brought the action of the public body within the ambit of judicial review principles. The extent to which it did so depended on the wording, scheme and purpose of the particular statute.

Andrew Tabachnik (Edwards Geldard) for the applicant; Geoffrey Stevenson (S W Daniel) for the respondent.

Magistrates

R v Birmingham Youth Court, ex p F (a child); QBD, Div CT (Laws LJ, Potts J) 4 Oct 1999.

WHERE TWO male magistrates had presided over the trial of a 13-year-old in a youth court in breach of the requirement in r 12(1) of the Youth Courts (Constitution) Rules 1954 that the bench should also include a woman, and had failed to consider the exercise of their discretion under r 12(3) to proceed without a woman justice, the proceedings were a nullity. Had the members of the panel considered r 12(3), that would have had to be done in open court after hearing submissions from all parties.

John Price (Willcox Lane Clutterbuck) for the applicant; Peter Cooke (CPS, Birmingham) for the Crown.

VAT

North of England Zoological Society v Commissioners of Customs and Excise; QBD, Crown Office List (Carnwath J) 4 Oct 1999.

FOR A supply to be exempt from VAT as as a supply of education within item 1 of Gp 6 of Sch 9 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 it had to consist of the provision of a course, class or less of instruction rather than a supply of education in the sense of an opportunity to broaden the mind.

Andrew Hitchmough (Arnheim Tite & Lewis) for the appellant; Philippa Whipple (Solicitor for the Customs & Excise) for the commissioners.

Waste disposal

The Environment Agency v Steve Parr Haulage and Plant Hire Ltd; QBD, Div Ct (Laws LJ, Potts J) 4 Oct 1999.

SINCE THE principal purpose of s 71of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was enable the Environment Agency to collect information for a criminal prosecution, it followed that there was no requirement for it to prove that a respondent had moved controlled waste in order to require a response to a notice served under s 71(2) of the Act requiring information about the waste it had removed. Failure to respond to such a notice would, therefore, constitute a breach of s 71(3).

Matthew Cottrell (John Holmes, Warrington) for the appellant; Mark Laprell (Backhouses, Blackburn) for the respondent.

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