Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Admiralty

Owners of cargo on ship Prinsengracht v Owners/Demise Charterers of ship Prinsengracht; QBD (Adm Ct)(Sheen J); 16 July 1992.

The consequence of shipowners, domiciled in one of the contracting states of the EC who voluntarily give bail for the purpose of avoiding the inconvenience of the arrest of one of their ships, did not deprive the Admiralty Court of jurisdiction to hear and determine the plaintiff's claim as cargo owners.

Dominic Kendrick (Clyde & Co) for the cargo owners; Nigel Teare QC and Simon Kverndal (Holmes Hardingham Walser Johnston Winter) for the shipowners.

Crime

R v Duncan; CA (Crim Div)(Stuart-Smith LJ, Leonard, Wright JJ); 2 July 1992.

In a trial where the issue was one of identity, the judge must be careful to give the conventional warning to the jury not to draw adverse inferences in repect of a defendant's failure to give evidence, especially where a co-defendant had given evidence, since the jury might well think that that strengthened the identification evidence.

The judge should also take care to direct the jury on any alibi evidence as a jury which rejected the alibi might think that that supported the identification.

Elizabeth Joseph (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Robert Rees (CPS) for the Crown.

Damages

Mattocks v Mann; CA (Nourse, Stocker, Beldam LJJ); 11 June 1992.

Where a plaintiff's car had been damaged by the defendant's negligence and the repairers refused to release the repaired car because the plaintiff was unable to pay and the defendant's insurers had failed to meet the cost of the repairs, the plaintiff was entitled to claim as damages the cost of continuing to hire a car until its release.

It was only in the exceptional case that it would be possible or correct to isolate a plaintiff's impecuniosity as a separate and concurrent cause terminating the consequences of the defendant's wrong.

Simon Browne (Ronald Nathan & Co) for the plaintiff; Guy Anthony (Jacobs) for the defendant.

Mobile home

Omar Parks Ltd v Elkington; Ron Grundy (Melbourne) Ltd v Boneheyo; CA (Nourse, Stocker, Beldam LJJ); 8 July 1992.

The term 'the owner shall be entitled to terminate the agreement forthwith if, on the application of the owner, the court is satisfied that the occupier is not occupying the mobile home as his only or main residence' implied by Sch 1, Pt 1, para 5 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 in any agreement to which the Act applied required the occupation of the mobile home to be judged as at the date on which the application was heard and determined and not at the date on which the site owner applied to the court.

Timothy Howard (Tozers, Exeter) for the plaintiffs; Andrew Arden QC and Julian Lynch (Lance Kent & Co, Berkhamsted) for Elkington; Richard Quenby (Gregory Rowcliffe & Milners for Dixons, Northwich) for Boneheyo.

Revenue

O'Rourke (Inspector of Taxes) v Binks; CA (Lloyd, Stuart-Smith, Scott LJJ); 15 July 1992.

An election under the Capital Gains Tax Act 1979, s 72(4) (Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, s 122(4)) to deduct allowable expenditure relating to a total shareholding, where a capital distribution was treated as a part disposal of the holding, could be made only if the value of the distribution was 'small' compared to the value of the holding within subsection (2).

There was no express limitation in subsection (4), but since the words were ambiguous, it was permissible to have regard to the context of the provision, to antecedent consolidated legislation and to the presumed intention of Parliament as aids to construction.

Christopher McCall QC and Launcelot Henderson (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; Rex Bretten QC and G R A Argles (Simpson Curtis, Leeds) for the taxpayer.

Practice

Balli Trading Ltd v Afalona Shipping Ltd; CA (Nourse, Stocker, Beldam LJJ); 22 July 1992.

In proceedings for summary judgment under RSC Ord 14, the court should decide any arguable question of construction only if it was short and did not depend on more than a few documents and if a decision would practically dispose of the action in one way or the other.

Timothy Young (Holmes Hardingham Walser Johnston Winter) for the appellant defendant; Timothy Brenton (Clyde & Co) for the plaintiff.

Road traffic

Black v Carmichael; High Court of Justiciary (Lord Hope, Lord Justice-General, Lord Allanbridge, Lord Cowie); 12 June 1992.

The immobilisation of a car on private property by the use of a wheel clamp which was released only on payment of a sum of money amounted to extortion and theft.

Derek Batchelor (Balfour & Manson Nightingale & Bell for Keegan Walker & Co, Livingston) for the appellants; Lord Rodger of Earlsferry QC, Lord Advocate (Crown Agent) for the prosecutor.

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