CASE SUMMARIES

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

Banking

BCCI v Malik & ors; ChD (N Stewart QC, Dep J); 8 Feb 1995.

Liquidation did not in itself terminate a company's contracts; still less did the appointment of a provisional liquidator. The fact that normal market forces no longer applied to the setting of BCCI's base rate after 5 July 1991 did not remove their contractual right to fix their own base rate and calculate interest by reference to that rate where lending terms stipulated such a formula, nor take away their right to charge compound interest.

Jonathan Crow (Stephenson Harwood) for BCCI: Ajmalul Hossain (Hallewell Bunyard) for the first two defendants.

Company

Neptune (Vehicle Washing Equipment) Ltd v Fitzgerald; ChD (Lightman J); 10 Feb 1995.

For the purpose of s 317 of the Companies Act 1985, there could be a directions meeting in the case of a sole director. A sole director could not evade compliance with s 317 by considering or committing the company to a contract in which he was interested otherwise than at a directors' meeting or by delegating the decision-making to others.

Elizabeth Jones (Harbottle & Lewis) for the plaintiff; Michael Roberts (Amery-Parkes) for the defendant.

Contempt

Peach & Grey v Sommers; QB Div Ct (Rose LJ, Tuckey J); 10 Feb 1995.

A Divisional Court had jurisdiction to hear a contempt application under RSC Ord 52, r 2 arising out of proceedings in an industrial tribunal since the latter was an inferior court for the purposes of the rule. Though not a court of record, the tribunal had all the characteristics of a body exercising judicial functions, including a legally qualified chairman appointed by Parliament, rules of procedure, power to impel witnesses and administer oaths and a duty to give reasons for its decisions.

Giles Harrap (Peach & Grey, Southampton) for the applicants; Nigel Baker QC, Nicholas Dean (Dibbons Baehr, Bourne-mouth) for the respondent; Andrew Hopper, Solicitor, for the Law Society.

Housing

R v Westminster CC, ex p Mulonso; CA (Balcombe, Roch, Saville LJJ); 1 Feb 1995.

The existence of rent arrears in respect of stage 1 or 2 temporary accommodation could not per se discharge a local authority's statutory duty, under s 65(2) of the Housing Act 1985, to secure suitable permanent accommodation for a homeless applicant. However, such arrears might have that effect if the stage 1 or 2 accommodation was "settled accommodation", so its loss created a fress incidence of homelessness, and if its loss was due to the applicant's deliberate act or omission, so the homelessness was intentional.

Robert Latham (Glazer Delmar) for the appellant; Clive Hugh Jones (City Solicitor) for Westminster.

Interview

Re M (minors; interview); FamD (Hale J); 27 Jan 1995.

In a dispute between solicitors preparing a father's defence to a charge of rape, and the local authority which shared parental responsibility for a child in care, the court had the power under its inherent jurisdiction to de-cide how the child should be interviewed. Weighed against the interests of justice in properly preparing the father's defence, the child's welfare was not the sole or overriding consideration.

Charles Geekie (Council Solicitor) for the local authority; David Turner (Johns & Saggar) for the father; Caroline Lester (Judge & Priestley) for the mother; Nigel Taylor, solicitor (Ewings & Co) for the guardian ad litem.

Practice

Practice Directions; QBD & ChD (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ, Sir Richard Scott V-C); 24 Jan 1995; FamD (Sir Stephen Brown P); 2 Feb 1995.

To achieve a reduction in costs and delay, courts would henceforth assert greater control over the preparation and conduct of cases.

They would exercise their discretion to limit discovery, length of oral submissions, time allowed for examining witnesses and reading aloud. Issues and evidence should be confined to what was essential, expert evidence was to be reduced and the main issues were to be identified in advance of hearings. Court bundles must be lodged two clear days before the hearing and must be properly paginated and indexed.

Failure by practitioners to conduct cases economically would be visited by orders for costs.

Reasons

R v Stafford Crown Court, ex p Reid & anr; QB Div Ct (Rose LJ, Tuckey J); 10 Feb 1995.

There was no need for a Crown Court judge to give reasons when refusing an application for an extension of time to appeal against conviction in the magistrates' court under r 7 of the Crown Court Rules 1982.

The decision was the result of a procedural function, not a judicial one, so fairness did not demand the giving of reasons.

Nicholas Paul (Tyndallwoods, Birmingham) for the applicants.

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