Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Ancient Monuments

R v J O Sims Ltd; CA (Crim Div) (Lloyd LJ, Tudor Evans, Latham JJ); 9 July 1992.

Where a company had pleaded guilty of causing or permitting works to be executed which resulted in damage to a scheduled monument, contrary to s 2(1) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, on the basis that it had been negligent rather than deliberately flouting the law, then the degree of negligence involved was a relevant consideration.

Michael Kalisher QC (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.

Caravans

Barton & anr v Care & anr; CA (Parker, Woolf, Staughton LJJ); 3 July 1992.

A written statement given under s 1(2) of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 by the owner of a caravan site was valid and effective to bring into operation s 2 of the Act even if it was given more than three months after the making of an agreement to which the Act applied.

Unless a notice which was served outside the time limit was effective to trigger the powers of the court to impose terms under s 2, s 1(2) could be used by an owner so as to prevent an occupier from having rights which Parliament intended him to have.

Kim Lewison QC (Tozers, Exeter) for the appellant; Robert Osman (Ratcliffe & Bibby, Carnforth) for the respondents.

Children

Re B (A Minor); CA (Glidewell, Balcombe LJJ, Boreham J); 16 July 1992.

A court which was considering an application under ss 8 and 10 of the Children Act 1989 had the power, in its discretion, to receive and act on evidence adduced by one party, or emanating from a welfare officer, which was not disclosed to the other party.

That power was, however, only to be exercised in most exceptional circumstances, in accordance with the principles laid down in Official Solicitor v K (1963) 3 All ER 191.

Before ordering that any such evidence be not disclosed to another party, the court would have to consider it in order to satisfy itself that the disclosure of the evidence would be so detrimental to the welfare of the child or children under consideration as to outweigh the normal requirement for a fair trial, that all evidence must be disclosed so that all parties could consider it and if necessary seek to rebut it.

Jeremy Posnansky (Toller Hales & Collcutt) for the appellant; Richard Vain (Woolley & Weston) for the respondent.

Costs

Okotcha & anr v Voest Alpine Intertrading GmbH; CA (Bingham, Steyn LJJ); 23 July 1992.

The fact that a corporate plaintiff could not produce funds to provide security for costs was not of itself a reason why security should not be ordered, since the essence of security was that a defendant should be protected against the risk of being unable to enforce an order for costs, and that risk was in no sense diminished if the litigant in question was unable to produce the money to meet a judgment for costs.

David Matthias (Robert Gore & Co) for the appellant; Julia Dias (Norton Rose) for the respondent.

Landlord and

Tenant

Brent London Borough Council v O'Ryan & ors; CA (Nourse, McCowan, Beldam LJJ); 6 July 1992.

A letter from a local authority education officer addressed to an occupier stating that 'the education committee agreed to the monthly letting of the premises to you on the terms laid down by the valuers' did not amount to an agreement to grant a monthly tenancy.

It amounted to no more than the expression of willingness to make an offer to let the premises to the occupier on a monthly basis when the valuers had decided what the rent would be.

Terence Gallivan (Stephen R Forster, Wembley) for the council; Shane Dougall (Vallance Lickfolds) for the occupier.

Passenger vehicles

Examiner of the Metropolitan Traffic Area v Swallow Hotels Ltd; QBD (Div Ct) (Leggatt LJ, Pill J); 7 July 1992.

It was necessary for a hotel which provided a vehicle for the benefit of customers and others to comply with the provisions of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, even though the vehicle was operated at the sole discretion of the manager and no payment was made by the users of the coach for any journey taken, since the service was provided in connection with the hotel business and was an amenity, payment for which was included in the price of a room.

David Pannick QC (Treasury Solicitor) for the appellant; Mark Laprell (J A Backhouse & Sons, Blackburn) for the respondents.

Sentencing

R v Lewes Crown Court, ex p Sinclair; QBD (Div Ct) (Watkins LJ, Tucker J); 6 July 1992.

A defendant who sought to challenge by way of judicial review a warrant of imprisonment ordering a sentence of three and a half years to be served consecutive to, rather than concurrent with, a sentence he was already serving, was actually challenging a matter relating to trial on indictment, since the real issue was what the sentence of the court had been.

Accordingly, the Divisional Court had no jurisdiction over the matter, which was for the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to decide.

Francis Moraes (Paul Black, Haywards Heath) for the applicant; Mark Shaw (who did not appear below) (Treasury Solicitor) for the Crown Court.

Road Traffic

DPP v Curtis; QBD (Div Ct) (Watkins LJ, Tucker J); 7 July 1992.

In deciding whether a motorist had made out a case of reasonable excuse for failure to provide a specimen of breath, justices must beware of being gullible, and must be scrupulous not to rely on experience of their own or on whatever knowledge they might possess of some mental or physical condition which could not be supported by the evidence before them.

Nigel Rumfitt (CPS Nottingham) for the Crown; the respondent did not appear and was not represented.

R v Steel; CA (Crim Div) (Lloyd LJ, Tudor Evans, Latham JJ); 9 July 1992.

There was a clear distinction between cases where personal injury was caused by careless driving and those where such an injury was caused by reckless driving. Bearing in mind the nature of the offence of reckless driving, the consequences of the driving must be relevant to the question of sentence, and where personal injury had been caused the judge must consider and give full weight to all the facts and circumstances, including the gravity of the consequences of the driving to members of the public.

Timothy Probert-Wood (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.

Solicitors

In re a Solicitor; QBD (Div Ct) (Watkins LJ, Tucker, Buckley JJ); 7 July 1992.

Where the solicitors' disciplinary committee had not found a solicitor to have acted dishonestly, to suspend him from practice for two years was an inappropriate penalty since the practical effect would be little different from striking him off the record altogether.

Malcolm Knott (A J Bolton) for the solicitor; Charles Flint (Ferriman & Cheale) for the Law Society.

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