Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Crime

R v Stockwell; CA (Crim Div)(Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ, Henrym Blofeld JJ); 8 March 1993.

Expert evidence, if it could provide the jury with information and assistance they would otherwise lack, is admissible, but the trial judge must decide whether the issue is one where the court could be assisted by expert evidence and whether the expert had the expertise to provide the assistance. The evidence of a facial mapping expert was admissible.

William Clegg QC, who did not appear below and John Caudle (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; R A Bayliss (CPS) for the Crown.

Deportation

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex p Chahal; QBD(Potts J); 12 Feb 1993.

In considering, for the purposes of the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and 1967, whether an asylum seeker had a well-founded fear of persecution, the Home Secretary was not required, by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the UN Convention against Torture, to address as a separate issue the question of the applicant's exposure to the risk of torture. Neither convention formed part of English domestic law, and torture was not in law or fact a discrete matter but was implicitly an aspect of persecution.

Nicholas Blake (Winstanley Burgess) for the applicant; Michael Beloff QC and Robert Jay (Treasury Solicitor) for the Home Secretary.

Costs

Wilkinson and anor v Kenny and anor; CA(Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Rose, Waite LJJ); 9 Feb 1993.

On an application that solicitors should personally pay the costs of certain items in litigation in which they were acting, an order that they should part of the costs of the application was an order 'relating only to costs which are by law left to the discretion of the court' within s 18(1)(f) of the Supreme Court Act 1981. Accordingly, where the judge refused leave to appeal against such an order, the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal.

Linda Pearce (Atkinson Cave & Stuart, Blackpool) for the appellants; David Ritchie (Cuddy Woods & Cochrane, Blackpool) for the respondents.

Companies

Re New Bullas Trading Ltd; ChD(Knox J); 11 Feb 1993.

Despite the plainest possible expression of an intention by the parties that the charge over a company's book debts created by a clause in a debenture should be a fixed charge, the lack of restrictions on the way the monies could be dealt with, in the absence of a direction by the mortgagee, was inconsistent with the existence of a specific charge and meant that, on its true construction, the clause actually created a floating charge.

Martin Pascoe (Clifford Chance) for the administrative receivers; Jonathan Sumption QC and T D Chivers (Lawrence Graham) for the mortgagee; Christopher Tidmarsh (Inland Revenue Commissioners) for the preferential creditors.

Revenue

Sheppard and anor v Inland Revenue Commissioners; ChD(Aldous J); 18 Feb 1993.

The trustees of a charity claiming tax credit on a dividend received from a company were not claiming 'relief' and were thus not seeking a tax advantage to be counteracted by the Revenue under the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970, s 460 as defined by s 466 (ss 703 and 709 of the 1988 Act). A charity, exempt from tax and therefore under no obligation to pay tax, could not claim 'relief' which meant the alleviation of such an obligation.

G R A Argles (Lloyd & Pratt , Newport) for the taxpayer; Launcelot Henderson (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown.

Practice

C J Nicholls & Associates Ltd v Penningtons; ChD (Knox J); 22 Feb 1993.

Where the rule that payments into court had been broken, it was open to the trial judge either to refuse to continue the hearing or, if satisfied that no injustice would be done, to allow the case to proceed. While it was utterly deplorable that a journal connected with the law should have published that amount of the defendants' payment into court, the judge was nevertheless entitled to conclude that it was appropriate, having heard the case for four and a half days, to continue to hear it, putting the disclosure out of his mind by a familiar judicial exercise in controlled forgetfulness.

Geoffrey Zelin (Dawson Cornwell & Co) for the plaintiff; Alastair Norris (Barlow Lyde & Gilbert) for the defendants.

Dagnell and anor v JL Freedman & Co (a firm) and ors; HL (Lord Templeman, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Lord Browne-Wilkinson and Lord Mustill); 11 March 1993.

The failure of the plaintiffs, who were the trustees of a will, to serve a writ before its validity expired due to the need to make a Beddoe application (see Re Beddoe, Downes & Cottam (1893) 1 Ch 547) for authority to bring the proceedings against the defendants to protect themselves against liability for the costs of the contemplated litigation out of the estate did not provide good reason for failure to serve the writ within the period of its validity. There was no special factor which required Beddoe applications to be treated on a different basis from other collateral proceedings.

Peter Leaver QC and Jeffrey Onions (McKenna & Co) for the plaintiffs; Martin Mann QC and Daniel Gerrans (Ince & Co) for the second and sixth to eighth defendants.

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