CASE SUMMARIES: 25 November 1996

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

Children

Re B (minors) (issue estoppel); FD (Hale J) 1 Nov 1996.

The strict doctrine of issue estoppel did not apply in children's cases. Such an approach was necessary in order to encompass both the flexibility essential in cases concerning children and the increased control exercised by the court rather than the parties, already a feature of the court's more inquisatorial role in such cases. The court had a discretion as to how the inquiry before it was to be conducted and that included the power to decline to allow a full hearing of the evidence on certain matters even if the strict rules of issue estoppel would not cover them.

Graham Parnell for the local authority; Alan Inglis for the mother; Alison Ball QC for the father; Elizabeth Coleman for the guardian ad litem.

Inspection

Ex p Austintel Ltd; CA (Morritt, Ward, Potter LJJ) 31 Oct 1996.

The refusal of a judge to grant a company leave under r 7.28(2) of the Insolvency Rules 1986 (SI 1925) to inspect and make multiple searches of records of insolvency proceedings, on the ground that the company's purpose in abstracting the information, namely to make it available to subscribers, was not a proper purpose, was final: see r 7.28(3). The Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction under RSC Ord 59, r 14(3) to consider a renewed application under r 7.28(1) nor could it grant leave to appeal against the judge's decision.

Justin Rushbrooke (Peter Carter-Ruck & Ptrs) for Austintel; Richard Snowden (Norton Rose) for the Society of Practitioners of Insolvency.

Privilege

R v Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, ex p Taher Nawaz; QBD (Sedley J) 25 Oct 1996.

The privilege against self- incrimination was not restricted to legal proceedings but could apply to the disciplinary proceedings of a body such as the institute with power over the lives and livelihoods of its members. But the priv- ilege could be waived and it clearly had been waived by the members of the institute under its current rules when they joined it. A member could not therefore rely on the privilege to excuse him from answering questions put to him in the course of an investigation.

Philip Engelman (Howard Cohen & Co, Leeds) for the applicant; Monica Carss-Frisk (Denton Hall, Milton Keynes) for the institute.

Witnesses

R v Holt; R v Bird; CA (Cr Div) (Roch LJ, Jowitt J, Judge Ann Goddard QC) 22 Oct 1996.

Where a witness, the victim of violence, and another who witnessed the attack refused out of fear to give evidence at the trial of the attacker, then provided the procedures set out in the CPS policy for prosecuting cases of domestic violence were followed, the trial might proceed with the witnesses' evidence being admitted under s 23 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, a provision by which Parliament had recognised and tried to combat the growing ruthlessness of some criminals and their associates.

Alun Jones QC (who did not appear below), Susan Monaghan (Hewitt Burrough & Co, Dartford) for the appellants.

VAT

Argos Distributors Ltd v Customs & Excise Commrs; ECJ (sixth chamber) 24 Oct 1996.

Where a supplier of goods sold vouchers at a discount to a third party, such as an employer operating an incentive scheme, who distributed the vouchers to persons (such as the employer's staff) who as consumers then used them to buy goods from the supplier at the face value of the vouchers, the "consideration obtained by the supplier", for the purpose of art11(A)(1) of Council Directive 77/338/EEC (harmonisation of turnover taxes) was the sum actually received by the supplier on the sale of the voucher, not the voucher's face value.

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