Law Report: Case summaries

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


Re W (minors); FD (Booth J); 31 July 1992.

When the family proceedings court made any order or refused any application under the Children Act 1989, reasons and findings of fact should always be recorded and stated pursuant to r 21(5) and (6) of the Family Courts Proceedings (Children Act 1989) Rules 1991.

In the present case the clerk to the justices had taken the view that reasons were not necessary since the hearing was one for interim relief.

However there was no exception to the mandatory requirement under the rule. An interim order was no different from a long-term order. The decision- making process was always the same. In each and every case the parties should be able to be confident that the court had followed the required steps and had reached its decisions in the proper manner and the parties were entitled to know the justices' reasons and their findings.

The appeal was allowed and the case remitted for a re-hearing before a fresh bench of justices.

David Sharp (County Solicitor) for the appellant local authority; Karoline Sultan (Bretherton & Co, St Albans) for the mother; Alan Inglis (A F Barker & Co) for the maternal great-aunt; Cheryl Williams (Conway Wood & Com Harpenden) for the guardian ad litem.


R v Boyle; CA (Crim Div) (Steyn LJ, Alliott, Pill JJ); 17 Aug 1992.

Where a defendant is charged under s 6(1) of the Bail Act 1988 with being in contempt of court following his failure to surrender to bail at the proper time, the trial judge must follow the correct procedure in dealing with him.

Namely, counsel must be invited to call evidence or to address the court in explanation, after which the judge should state his findings, giving the reasons for it, and hear mitigation before passing sentence.

D Marshall (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Brendan Finucane (CPS) for the Crown.

Practice Practice Statement: Note of judgment for use in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division); CA (Lord Donaldson of Lymington MR); 9 July 1992.

Where a judge of the Queen's Bench or Chancery Divisions gives a direction under Ord 68 r 1 that no official shorthand note or mechanical recording be taken of a signed judgment which he is handing down, copies of that judgment should be lodged in lieu of the official shorthand note in compliance with Ord 59 r 9(1)(f).

Where the appellant is represented by a solicitor, it should be accompanied by a letter from the solicitor confirming that the judge gave such a direction.

Practice Direction: Insolvency appeals from district judges (No 3 of 1992); ChD (Sir Donald Nicholls, V-C); 17 July 1992.

Appeals from decisions of district judges sitting in the county court or in the High Court and exercising insolvency jurisdiction over companies or over individuals lay to a single judge of the High Court: s 375(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986 and rule 7.47(2) of the Insolvency Rules 1986 (SI No 1925).

At present those appeals were heard in London, save that with the parties' consent they might be heard in Manchester or Leeds by the Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster.

In future, such appeals might also be heard outside London by a circuit judge, who exercised the powers of a judge of the Chancery Division in the places where such a circuit judge sat, namely Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne or Preston.

The effect of rules 7.49(2) and 13.2 was that in such cases notices of appeal might be lodged in the appropriate High Court district registry in company insolvency proceedings and with the registrar in bankruptcy of the High Court in London in individual insolvency proceedings.

Notwithstanding rule 13.2(3), if the parties so agreed, notice of appeal from a district judge in individual insolvency proceedings might be lodged with the appropriate High Court district registry.

Nothing in the practice direction affected appeals from decisions of circuit judges exercising insolvency jurisdiction.

Practice Direction: Form of notices of motion and judges' summonses (No 2 of 1992); ChD (Sir Donald Nicholls, V-C); 20 July 1992.

Notices of motion, other than in the Patents Court, do not need to state the name of the judge before whom the motion will be moved.

It will be sufficient for the notice to state 'the Chancery motions judge'. Similarly it will be sufficient for Companies Court summonses returnable before a judge to state 'the Companies Court judge'. The names of those judges will appear in the Daily Cause List and also in the Chancery Divisional term list.

The direction supersedes Chancery Division (Practice Directions (14) Motions (The Supreme Court Practice 1991 Fourth Cumulative Supplement, p 215) relating to motions judges: '(B)(i) A judge ('the motions judge') would be assigned to hear motions on each motion day'.


R v Ditta; CA (Crim Div) (McCowan LJ, Leonard, Swinton Thomas JJ); 17 Sept 1992.

Where a taxi driver was convicted of reckless driving and the offence arose out of use of the car as a weapon rather than out of bad driving, the main punishment had to be a custodial sentence, and financial punishment in the form of a long period of disqualification was wrong.

Robin Denny (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.


R v Osbourne; CA (Crim Div) (Farquharson LJ, Tudor Evans, Rougier JJ); 6 Aug 1992.

Threats uttered to officers of the court, such as solicitors, amounted as much to contempt of court as threats uttered to witnesses.

Just as witnesses should feel free to give evidence without fear, so should officers of the court feel free to carry out their functions without fear of reprisals by disgruntled individuals.

David Howker (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.


R v Baxendale; CA (Crim Div) (Farquharson LJ, Tudor Evans, Rougier JJ); 13 Aug 1992.

Where a judge is faced with a witness unwilling to give evidence he should adjourn proceedings so that the witness may be represented and have an opportunity to discuss the matter and obtain advice.

D Pickup (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant.

Correction In Bugg v DPP (the Independent,

8 September 1992), instructing solicitors for Miss Greaves were Robert Milsom, Cambridge.