Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Company

Re Vedmay Ltd; ChD (Gavin Lightman QC, deputy High Court judge); 22 September 1993.

Where the liquidator has disclaimed property under s 178 of the Insolvency Act 1986 as onerous property, a statutory tenant has locus standi to make an application under s 181 of the 1986 Act to have the property vested in him.

Kim Lewison QC and Janet Bignall (Denton Hall Burgin & Warrens) for the statutory tenants; Robert Reid QC and Tim Harry (Radcliffes) for the freeholder.

Practice Direction

Practice Direction (Judge in Chambers in London: Amended Procedure); QBD (Lord Taylor of Gosforth LCJ); 29 July 1993.

The practice direction amends the practice for inter partes applications and appeals to the Queen's Bench judge in chambers and replaces Part A of the Practice Direction (Judge in Chambers: Procedure) (1983) 1 WLR 433, as amended by the Practice Direction (Judge in Chambers: Amended Procedure) (1989) 1 WLR 359.

Coroner

R v North Humberside and Scunthorpe Coroner, Ex p Jamieson; QBD (DC) (Neill LJ, Mantell J); 9 July 1993.

At the inquest into the death of a prisoner who had committed suicide, the coroner was entitled to decide not to leave a lack of care verdict to the jury, since, although the prisoner had previously attempted suicide and had been placed in a single cell, final decisions about treatment had to be left to the clinical judgment of the medical officer in charge of the prisoner.

Ian Macdonald QC and Tim Owen (Ruth Bundey & Co, Leeds) for the applicant; Ian Burnett (local authority solicitor) for the coroner.

Crime

R v Jennings and anor; CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Turner, Judge JJ); 27 September 1993.

The Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal under s 9(11) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 against a refusal of a trial judge, in a preparatory hearing in a serious fraud case under s 7, to sever a count from the indictment where severance has been sought to avoid alleged prejudice to a defendant, although it might be arguable that where severance is sought to reduce complexity a refusal to sever could give rise to a right of appeal if it could be shown that the exercise of the trial judge's discretion in refusing the application had been fundamentally flawed.

Because of the consequences to other appellants of the need to list applications for leave to appeal under s 9(11) urgently, there is a clear duty on barristers and solicitors, underlined where public funding is involved, to scrutinise anxiously: (1) Whether there is jurisdiction in the court to entertain an application; and (2) Whether there is any real prospect of successfully arguing that the judge's exercise of his discretion was fundamentally flawed.

Raymond Walker QC and Bruce Stuart (Betesh Fox, Manchester); Daniel Hollis QC and Geoffrey Birch (Lloyd Brennard, Brentford) for the appellants; David H Evans QC and Mark Ellison (Stephenson Harwook) for an interested party, a co- accused; Christopher Clark QC and Justin Gau (SFO) for the Crown.

Striking out

Doyle v Robinson; CA (Neill, Beldam, Leggatt LJJ); 22 September 1993.

In an application to strike out for want of prosecution, where there had been inordinate delay by the plaintiff, where the question of liability was not in dispute and the calculations of special damages were simple, a defendant was not required to provide actuarial evidence as to those calculations to prove that he had been prejudiced by the delay since it would be wrong to burden him with the cost of such evidence.

Frederick H Brown (Geffens, Walsall) for the plaintiff; Stephen Oliver-Jones (David Harris & Co, Birmingham) for the defendant.

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