CASE SUMMARIES v 17 June 1996

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

Compensation

Porter v Secretary of State for Transport; CA (Stuart-Smith, Peter Gibson, Thorpe LJJ) 16 May 1996.

The issue by the Environment Secretary of a certificate of appropriate alternative development, on an appeal to him under s 18 of the Land Compensation Act 1961, could not give rise either to an issue estoppel or estoppel per rem judicatem which would bind the claimants and the acquiring authority (the Transport Secretary) in a subsequent assessment of compensation before the Lands Tribunal.

Michael Barnes QC, Christopher Katkowski (Treasury Solicitor) for the Transport Secretary; Malcolm Spence QC, Nicholas Nardecchia (Rooks Rider) for the respondents.

Defamation

Stern v Piper; CA (Hirst, Simon Brown LJJ, Sir Ralph Gibson) 21 May 1996

The repetition rule, that it was no defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to prove that he was merely repeating what he had been told, did not apply to the publication of extracts from an affirmation in a pending lawsuit. Although such a report of statements was essentially hearsay, and therefore prima facie within the rule, reports of affidavits or other court documents were not protected by privilege in the same way as reports of proceedings in open court. The judge erred in refusing to strike out the defendants' plea of justification; the defence of justification was not available.

James Price QC (Manches & Co) for the plaintiff; David Eady QC, Manuel Barca (Mishcon de Reya) for the defendants.

Mental health

R v Mental Health Review Tribunal ex p Pierce; QBD (Harrison J) 20 May 1996.

Where the tribunal was under a mandatory duty to discharge a patient under s 72(1)(b)(iii) of the Mental Health Act 1983, they could still direct that discharge be deferred under s 72(3). Had Parliament intended deferment only to apply to discretionary discharges, it would have so specified. But the court had grave misgivings as to whether a deferment during which a patient might receive treatment to which they were opposed, would be a lawful exercise of the power to defer.

Debbie Taylor (Galbraith Branley) for the applicant; Neil Garnham (Treasury Solicitor) for the respondent.

Murder

Lamey v The Queen; PC (Lord Keith, Lord Griffiths, Lord Jauncey, Lord Nicholls, Lord Steyn) 20 May 96.

A murder was committed in the course or furtherance of an act of terrorism, under s 2(1)(f) of the Offences Against the Person Law 1864 (as amended) of Jamaica, and was thus a capital murder, if the murderer had the double intent to murder and to create a state of fear in the public or a section thereof. The subsection did not apply to a murder committed with the sole intent of killing the victim whereby fear happened to be created in those who saw it take place or heard of it.

Owen Davies, Raza Husain (Simons Muirhead & Burton) for the appellant; James Guthrie QC (Charles Russell) for the Crown.

Planning

Cadogan v McCarthy & Stone (Developments) Ltd; CA (Butler-Sloss, Saville LJJ, Douglas Brown J) 16 May 1996.

Where landlords had to show that there was a reasonable prospect of obtaining planning permission, a reasonable prospect meant a real chance, a prospect that was strong enough to be acted on by a reasonable landlord minded to go ahead with plans which required permission, as opposed to a prospect that should be treated as merely fanciful or one that should sensibly be ignored by a reasonable landlord. In concluding that the landlords were more likely than not to get permission the judge applied the wrong test.

Edward Bannister QC, Guy Vickers (Solicitor, McCarthy & Stone) for the appellants; Nicholas Riddle, Nicholas Jackson (Healds, Southport) for the respondents.

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