Law Reports: CASE SUMMARIES v 21 October 1996

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

Betting

Customs and Excise Commrs v News International Newspapers Ltd; QBD (Kay J) 1 Oct 1996.

Fantasy Football competitions, where participants phoned in their entries using BT premium phone lines, did not attract pool betting duty under the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981. However, the Fantasy Fund competition which required participants to pay a pounds 5 registration fee did attract duty, since the entry fee paid by the participant was either a stake or, if not, was to be treated as a stake under s 7(3) of the Act, and was therefore a bet for the purposes of pool betting duty.

Stephen Richards (D J Nissen, Customs & Excise) for the appellants; Andrew Thornhill QC, Andrew Hitchmough (Farrer & Co) for the respondents.

Expert evidence

Owners of MFV Antares II v Owners of MV Victory; QBD (Adm Div) (G Brice QC) 2 July 1996.

The parties to the action, whose vessels had collided, were entitled to adduce evidence on the reconstruction of the collision. Although it was established practice that expert evidence on matters of navigation and seamanship could not be adduced before a court which was assisted by nautical assessors, the parties had prepared their respective cases on the basis of an exchange of experts' reports containing or commenting on reconstructions and therefore expert evidence on the reconstruction of the collision was admissible.

Vasanti Selvaratnam (Thomas Cooper & Stibbard) for the plaintiffs; Timothy Hill (Jackson Parton) for the defendants.

Legal aid

R v Legal Aid Board, ex p Dobson; QB Div Ct (Simon Brown LJ, Gage J) 7 Oct 1996.

On a proper construction of para 2(2) of Part III of Sch 1 to the Legal Aid & Criminal & Care Proceedings (Costs) Regulations 1989, a "Newton" hearing should be treated as a guilty plea within category 1.1 and not a contested hearing within category 2.1, since although Newton hearings were contested matters which involved a factual issue they could readily be regarded as proceedings preliminary or incidental to a plea of guilty.

Graham Cooke (Graham Dobson & Co, Orpington) for the applicants; Beverley Lang (Legal Aid Board) for the respondents.

Liquidator

Metalloy Supplies Ltd (in liqn) v MA (UK) Ltd; CA (Butler-Sloss, Millett, Waller LJJ) 7 Oct 1996.

The courts had jurisdiction to order a liquidator as a non- party personally to pay the costs of litigation initiated by him on behalf of the company, but given the public interest in liquidators being able to act for companies without being exposed to personal liability for costs, it would only be in exceptional cases that the jurisdiction would be exercised, and impropriety would be a necessary ingredient. The primary remedy of a defendant facing a company in liquidation was to ask for security for costs.

Terence Mowschenson, Michael Rollason (Hartley Linfoot & Whitlam, Sheffield) for the plaintiff; Peter Irvin (Richmonds, Doncaster) for the defendants.

Tax

Inland Revenue Commrs v Oldham Training & Enterprise Council; ChD (Lightman J) 12 Sept 1996.

The council was not established for charitable purposes only within the meaning of s 506(1) of the Income & Corporation Taxes Act 1988 and accordingly was not exempt from corporation tax on its income. The objects clauses of the council, to promote the interests of individuals engaged in trade, commerce and enterprise and to provide benefits and services to them, enabled the council to provide private benefits. Since the benefits conferred on the community by such activities were too remote, the council was disqualified from having charitable status.

Michael Furness (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; Timothy Lloyd QC (Wrigley Claydon, Oldham) for the council.

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