Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Costs

NFC Properties Ltd v London Borough of Camden; CA (Balcombe, Nolan LJJ, Sir Christopher Slade).

15 December 1992.

An order relating to the taxation of costs was not an order 'relating only to costs which are by law left to the discretion of the court or tribunal' within the meaning of s 18(1)(f) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, but was more properly embraced by s 18(1)(h).

Accordingly, where a judge made such an order and refused leave to appeal, the Court of Appeal had jurisdiction to grant such leave itself.

Stephen Hockman QC (Borough Solicitor) for Camden; Christopher Moger QC (McKenna & Co) for the respondent.

Husband and Wife

Hennie v Hennie; CA (Lloyd LJ, Connell J).

21 December 1992.

It was plainly of importance when an order was made entitling a spouse to occupy property under the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983, that the parties should have a clear idea of where they stood and of what was expected of them in the future. A time limit should be specified, subject to liberty to apply.

Manjit Panesar (Leon Kaye Collin & Gittens) for the petitioner; Simon Sandford (Jeffrey Gordon & Co) for the respondent.

Investigators

Joy v Federation Against Copyright Theft Ltd; QBD (Div Ct) (Kennedy LJ, Clarke J).

14 January 1993.

Whether a person fell within the terms of s 67(9) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and was thus bound by the relevant codes of practice, was a question of fact, the key issue being whether it was the duty of the person concerned to investigate criminal offences. There was no warrant to limit the category of persons charged with investigation to those who had a quasi-official statutory duty, since the words of the section did not suggest any limitation but included any type of legal duty, whether imposed by contract, statute or common law.

Peter Hunt (Holden & Co, Hastings) for the appellant; Julian Christopher (Titmuss Sainer & Webb) for the federation.

Local government

Hussain v Bradford City Council; QBD (Div Ct) (Watkins LJ, Laws J); 18 November 1992.

For a criminal offence to be made out, under s 48(6)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, of using a private hire vehicle in breach of condition 4(1) of the City of Bradford Metropolitan Council Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which required the display of a sign which the council provided indicating the maximum number of passengers which the vehicle was allowed to carry, it must be shown that the defendant was plying for hire at the material time.

Nigel Sangster (Bussra Singh & Sweeney, Bradford) for the appellant; Gerard M Heap (Director of Legal Services, Bradford) for the council.

Practice

Roche v Church; CA (Balcombe, Mann, Leggatt LJJ); 4 December 1992.

Where, after a plaintiff had been guilty of unreasonable delay in the conduct of an action, the defendant so conducted himself as to induce the plaintiff to incur further costs in the reasonable belief that the defendant intended to exercise his right to proceed to trial notwithstanding the plaintiff's delay, thereby giving rise to an estoppel precluding the defendant from obtaining the dismissal of the action, it was not open to the defendant to 'buy out' the estoppel by offering to compensate the plaintiff against his costs thrown away.

Leslie Blohm (J W Ward & Son, Bristol) for the appellant; Graeme C Wood (Faulkners, Midsomer Norton) for the respondents.

Set off

B Hargreaves Ltd v Action 2000 Ltd; CA (Balcombe, Nolan LJJ, Sir Christopher Slade).

8 December 1992.

Where, on a claim for money due in respect of work done under a construction contract, the defendant sought to rely on set off at common law, but the sums claimed by way of set off in respect of other construction contracts depended on a surveyor's valuation of the work done, on his estimation of what had been omitted and of whether certain work had been done inadequately, and on the value he attributed to that inadequate work, then those sums were not 'money demands which can be readily and without difficulty ascertained', and did not form a valid claim for set off at law.

Peter Sheridan QC (Dibb Alderson, Sheffield) for the appellant; Daniel Serota QC (Eversheds Hepworth & Chadwick, Leeds) for the respondent.

VAT

Customs & Excise Commissioners v MacHenrys (Hairdressers) Ltd and MacHenrys (a firm); QBD (Potts J).

17 December 1992.

Hair stylists who were not registered persons for VAT, because their turnover was below the limit, and who were provided with space in the taxpayer's salon in return for a fee of 50 per cent of their takings, were for VAT purposes self-employed traders supplying services to customers, and were not subcontractors supplying services to, nor agents of, the taxpayers. Accordingly the taxpayers were not liable to pay VAT in respect of the stylists' turnover.

Richard McManus (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown; Joe Smouha (H H Mainprice) for the taxpayer.

Frank Galliers Ltd v Customs & Excise Commissioners; QBD (Hutchison J).

21 December 1992.

Where a 'reasonable excuse' for a serious misdeclaration in a VAT return was rejected by Customs because a company relied on 'another person' within s 32(2)(b) of the Finance Act 1985, the tribunal or the court might look behind that reliance to discover the underlying reason for the misdeclaration which might constitute a reasonable excuse. It should not be more difficult to establish a reasonable excuse for the conduct of a person regarded as 'another person' than for the conduct of the taxpayer himself or a person regarded as the directing mind of a company such as the managing director.

David Foxton (H H Mainprice) for the taxpayer; Alison Foster (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown.

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