CASE SUMMARIES: 28 October 1996

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

Arbitration

Fletamentos Maritimos SA v Effjohn International BV; QBD (Comm Ct) (Morison J) 3 Oct 1996.

The High Court had a general power to set aside or remit an order made in the interlocutory stages of an arbitration, where it was established that there had been a procedural mishap which had led to a substantial risk of prejudice to one of the parties. In this case, however, there were no grounds for upholding the plaintiff's allegation of bias or misconduct on the arbitrators' part, and its summons to set aside their refusal of an application for discovery was dismissed.

Sarosh Zaiwalla, John Fawcett-Ellis, solicitors (Zaiwalla & Co) for the plaintiff; Alastair Schaff (Stephenson Harwood) for the defendant.

Education

R v Brent & Harrow Health Authority, ex p Harrow LBC; QBD (Turner J) 8 Oct 1996.

When fulfilling its obligation to help an education authority in the provision of special educational needs under s 166 of the Education Act 1993, an area health authority could have regard to the resources available to them and decide to ration them to ensure that equity was maintained between persons needing provision of services.

Timothy Straker (Harrow Legal Services) for the applicants; Paul Rees (Le Brasseu, J Tickle) for the respondent.

Obscenity

R v Fellows, R v Arnold; CA (Cr Div) (Evans LJ, Creswell, Butterfield JJ) 27 Sept 1996.

For the purposes of s 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978, images held in digital form on a computer connected to the Internet were copies of photographs and were "distributed or shown" by being made available for access by other computer users. Thus a defendant who distributed child pornography in this way also contravened s 1 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

Colman Treacy QC, Alun Evans (Glas-yers, Birmingham) for the appellants; John Mitting QC (CPS) for the Crown.

VAT

Eastbourne Town Radio Cars Assn v Customs & Excise; QBD (Turner J) 18 Oct 1996.

An unincorporated association set up by taxi drivers to provide administrative facilities for its members made supplies of services "otherwise than for a consideration" within s 5(2)(b) of the VAT Act 1994. The association's constitution stated that it fulfilled its functions, employing staff etc on a non- profit basis as agent for the individual members. The association merely used the money belonging to the members to carry out its functions as their agent: see Trustees of Nell Gwynn House v Cust & Ex Commrs [1996] BTC 5,113.

Joe Smouha (Brachers, Maidstone) for the association; Philipa Whipple (Customs & Excise) for the Crown.

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