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*Re E (children: reopening findings of fact)

Family proceedings – Orders in family proceedings. The mother's appeal against findings of fact made against her in care proceedings, made on the basis of fresh evidence that suggested that her account of events had been plausible, was dismissed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that the family court had the statutory power under s 31F(6) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 to review its findings of fact, and it would generally be more appropriate for the significance of the further evidence to be considered by the trial court rather than by way of an appeal.

R (on the application of Phoenix Life Holdings Ltd and other companies) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners

Value added tax – Input tax. The defendant Revenue and Customs Commissioners' (HMRC) decision, upholding its rejection of a claim for repayment of significant amounts of under-recovered VAT input tax made exactly ten years earlier, was so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it. Accordingly, the Administrative Court quashed the decision and ordered HMRC to pay the claim (to the extent its quantum had been accepted).

Hyman and another v Revenue and Customs Commissioners

Stamp duty – Repayment. The Revenue and Customs Commissioners (HMRC) had correctly decided that the whole of the property owned by the taxpayers was residential property for the purposes of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and accordingly, that tax had been correctly paid on that basis. The First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) so held in dismissing the taxpayers' appeal against HMRC's decision to reject their claim for refund of SDLT. The FTT took the view that for SDLT purposes, 'residential property' meant a building that was used as a dwelling and land that was or formed part of the garden or grounds of the dwelling including a building on such land. 'Grounds' had, and was intended to have, a wide meaning.

Hyman and another v Revenue and Customs Commissioners

Stamp duty – Repayment. The Revenue and Customs Commissioners (HMRC) had correctly decided that the whole of the property owned by the taxpayers was residential property for the purposes of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and accordingly, that tax had been correctly paid on that basis. The First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) so held in dismissing the taxpayers' appeal against HMRC's decision to reject their claim for refund of SDLT. The FTT took the view that for SDLT purposes, 'residential property' meant a building that was used as a dwelling and land that was or formed part of the garden or grounds of the dwelling including a building on such land. 'Grounds' had, and was intended to have, a wide meaning.

R v Medouni and another

Criminal law – Murder. The way in which a jury note had been answered had not been inadequate and the first defendant's murder conviction was not unsafe. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, further held that the defendants' sentences of life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 30 years for murder, concurrent to five years and six months for doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of public justice for attempting to dispose of the body by fire, had not been either wrong in principle or manifestly excessive, in particular, the starting point of 30 years in setting the minimum term for murder.

R v Medouni and another

Criminal law – Murder. The way in which a jury note had been answered had not been inadequate and the first defendant's murder conviction was not unsafe. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, further held that the defendants' sentences of life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 30 years for murder, concurrent to five years and six months for doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of public justice for attempting to dispose of the body by fire, had not been either wrong in principle or manifestly excessive, in particular, the starting point of 30 years in setting the minimum term for murder.

Collins v Simonsen

Trust and Trustee – Gift. The payment of a sum of money by the claimant to the first defendant estate agent for the benefit of a third party, C, was a conditional and incomplete gift. The Queen's Bench Division, held, that, in the absence of further instructions from the claimant, (which there had not been any) a resulting trust of the £42,000 arose upon the transfer of the money into the first defendant's client account, with the first defendant as the trustee and the claimant, as the transferor. The claimant, accordingly, was entitled to the sum of money back at her request.

R (on the application of Golding) v Crown Court at Maidstone

Animal – Dog. The claimant's application for judicial review of the Crown Court's decision upholding an order for the destruction of the claimant's pit bull type dog was dismissed. The Divisional Court rejected submissions that the Crown Court's decision on dangerousness had wrongly failed to take into account mandatory conditions of exemption which required particular controls (including neutering and use of muzzle/lead when in public) over a dog of such type, and held that it had applied the right test and had reached its conclusions on all the evidence in a manner that could not be impeached.

SpiegelOnline GmbH v Beck

European Union – Copyright. Article 5(3)(c), second case, and (d) of Directive (EC) 2001/29 should be interpreted as not constituting measures of full harmonisation of the scope of the exceptions or limitations which they contained. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the applicant company's publication on its website of a manuscript by the respondent and of an article published in a book, and the respondent's challenge to the making available of complete texts of that manuscript and that article on the applicant's website.

Monkhill Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and another

Planning – Development. The first part of para 172 of the National Planning Policy Framework (the NPPF), in relation to development in an AONB, national park or the Broads, qualified as a policy falling within the scope of the presumption in favour of sustainable development for decision-taking to be applied under limb (i) of para 11(d) of the NPPF; it was also capable of sustaining a freestanding reason for refusal in general development control in AONBs, national parks and the Broads. The Planning Court, in dismissing the claimant company's application, further set out a practical summary to assist practitioners in the field.

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