Law reports: Case summaries

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

Cattle

R v Hereford Herd Book Society, ex p O'Neill; QBD (Carnwath J) 29 June 1995.

The Society, recognised by the British government as maintaining Hereford cattle registration records, pursuant to EEC Directive 77/504 on pure- bred breeding animals of the bovine species (OJ 1977 L206/8), was not obliged to admit and register cattle bred, born and living in Ireland. The 1977 Directive clearly envisaged a system of organisations recognised, and monitored by the recognising government, on a national basis, but operating according to harmonised criteria.

Delay

Rowe v Glenister & ors; CA (Beldam, Waite LJJ, Sir Christopher Slade) 25 July 1995.

In establishing, for the purpose of an application to strike out an action for want of prosecution, that inordinate and inexcusable delay since the issue of the writ had caused the defendant prejudice additional to that already suffered by him as a result of overall delay in pursuing the claim, it was not enough for the defendant to rely on a generalised assertion that memories must have grown fainter during the post-writ delay. The defendant must be able to demonstrate that in some specific respect, particular witnesses had become disabled, by reason of the lapse of time during the period of culpable delay, from giving at the trial, when in due course it took place, evidence as cogent or complete as that they could have given had it taken place sooner. In a case where many of the relevant events took place many years ago, an additional delay of some two and a half years could not automatically be assumed to have caused more than minimal additional prejudice.

Edward Cohen (Kosky Seal & Co) for the plaintiff; Peter Griffiths (Allsopp Wilkinson) for the second defendant's trustee in bankruptcy; the second defendant in person.

Disinterment

Re John Stocks (deceased); Consistory Court (David McClean QC, Chancellor) 30 June 1995.

Only in wholly exceptional circumstances would the consistory court exercise its discretion to permit cremated human remains, once committed to consecrated ground, to be disinterred to enable the ashes to be scattered. In certain cases it might be appropriate to permit the removal of human remains for re-interment in another secure place. Though desirable, it was not essential that the new place of interment be consecrated ground. But to allow disinterment so that the ashes could be scattered would strike at the root of the principle of security and safe custody. The application in this case, by the dead man's son, would be refused.

Equality

Meyers v Adjudication Officer (Case C-116/94); European Court of Justice 13 July 1995.

Family credit, the aim of which was to ensure that families with children did not find themselves worse off in low-paid work than they would be if not working, was concerned with access to employment and working conditions, and the fact that it was part of a national social security system could not exclude it from the scope of Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions.

The European Court of Justice so ruled on a reference from a case in which a British woman claimed that the inability to deduct child-care costs from income when determining eligibility to family credit discriminated against single-parent families, as it was easier for couples to arrange their working hours to allow one of them to look after the children while the other worked, and, since most single parents were women, constituted indirect discrimination against women.

Insolvency

Re a Debtor (No 87 of 1993)(No 2); ChD (Rimer J) 27 July 1995.

The provision by a debtor of false and misleading information in his proposal to his creditors or in his statement of affairs at a meeting of his creditors summoned under s 257 of the Insolvency Act 1986, for example by failing accurately to disclose his assets and liabilities, constituted a "material irregularity at or in relation to such meeting" within s 262(1)(b) of the Act, enabling the court to revoke the voluntary arrangement under s 262(4). The meaning of "material irregularity" in s 262(1)(b) was not restricted to irregularities in the convening or conduct of the meeting.

Simon Barker (Rowe & Maw, for Stockdale & Reid, North Shields) for the applicant creditors; Philip Bartle (Philip Jackson & Co, Newcastle upon Tyne) for the debtor; Andrew Rigney (Manches & Co) for the supervisor.

Young Offenders

R v Inner London Crown Court, ex p Barnes; QB Div Ct (Balcombe LJ, Buxton J) 3 July 1995.

It would be inappropriate for a judge when sentencing a young offender to take into account the fact that naming the offender would give additional publicity to some general rule or principle that the court sought to emphasise. But in a very serious case the naming of the offender, in the context of the punishment inflicted upon him, could properly serve as a deterrent to others. Since it took account of the disgrace, and thus the deterrence, directed at the offender himself, as well as of the general deterrent effect of that disgrace, it gave weight to the interests of the young person as required by s 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, as amended by the Children and Young Persons Act 1963.

Graham Cooke (Simons Muirhead & Burton) for the defendant.

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