Libel and slander – Defamatory statement. The language of s 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 showed that it raised the threshold of seriousness and required that its application be determined by reference to the actual facts about its impact and not just to the implicit meaning of the words. The Supreme Court so held in dismissing the defendant newspapers appeal against a finding that newspaper articles had involved publication of defamatory statements which had caused, or had been likely to cause, serious harm to the claimant.
– . In a judicial review planning permission challenge by the claimant to the development of an intensive poultry-rearing facility, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in allowing the appeal, held that the planning authority had misunderstood the environmental permit in respect of the proposed development, and the environmental impact assessment undertaken for the development had been inadequate in respect of the likely effects of odour and dust arising from the storage and spreading of manure.
Negligence – Causation. While it was natural to suspect a link between the significant overdose of pancuronium and the claimant's severe neurological injury, sustained at birth, the evidence did not establish the necessary causal connection between the two. Overall, the claimant's neurological injury was explained by his prematurity and perinatal course. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division ruled that causation had not been established and the claim against the defendant NHS Trust was dismissed.
Extradition – Private and family life. Having regard to all the factors to be taken into account in the balancing exercise, the judge's decision had not been wrong either on the basis of the evidence before him or having regard, in addition, to fresh evidence. Accordingly, the Administrative Court dismissed the appellant's appeal against the order for his extradition to Poland for one offence of theft.
Local government – Expenditure. The claimant local authorities' application for judicial review of a decision of the defendant Secretary of State failed. The Administrative Court held that the Secretary of State had adopted the correct legal approach to the exercise of his discretion, and his decision had neither amounted to a disproportionate interference with art 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights or the equivalent common law rights of the affected residents, nor to the provision of an unlawful state aid contrary to art 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Injunction – Anti-suit injunction. The claimant Jordanian company's application for a permanent anti-suit injunction against the defendant French company succeeded, in a dispute concerning works carried out at the Aqaba Container Terminal in Jordan. The Commercial Court held that there were no strong reasons for not granting an injunction to prevent further breach by the defendant of the agreement that it had made.
Statute – Construction. The correct construction of the words 'the pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th week' in AA 1967 s 1(1)(a) was that a woman would have exceeded her 24th week of pregnancy once she was 24 weeks + 0 days pregnant, or in other words, from midnight on the expiration of her 24th week of pregnancy, as stated in the decision letter issued on behalf of the Secretary of State. The Administrative court so held in dismissing the claimant's challenge that the Secretary of State had made an error of law in the decision letter or that the decision was procedurally unfair.
Immigration - Deportation - Internal relocation – . Whilst the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) had not erred in its application of the law to the issue of whether internal relocation to Kabul would have been harsh, it had erred in regard to the evidence that it had relied upon in regard to the percentage of the population of Kabul that had suffered indiscriminate violence. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appellant Afghan national's appeal against the refusal of his claim for asylum.
Sale of land – Contract. The claimant charitable company's application for summary judgment failed, in a dispute concerning the sale of property belonging to the claimant. The Chancery Division held that, among other things, there needed to be an investigation at a trial about the process of marketing the property and the decision making process of its directors. Disclosure would be required.
Patent – Infringement. The Patents Court considered issues in a dispute concerning the validity of a pharmaceutical patent, of which the defendant company was the proprietor. Among other things, the court decided to refer a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The question referred was whether European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) 469/2009 precluded the grant of a supplementary protection certificate to the proprietor of a basic patent in respect of a product which was the subject of a marketing authorisation held by a third party without that party's consent.
Agent - Authority - Ostensible authority – . The claimants claimed that the defendant bank's predecessor had agreed to write off significant debts that they had owed to the bank. The Chancery Division, dismissing the claim for specific performance of that alleged agreement and allowing the defendant's counterclaim for the claimants' indebtedness, held that the letter purporting to establish the alleged agreement to write off the debts had been an attempted fraud by a former employee of the bank and the first claimant, and that even if the first claimant had been able to show that it was objectively reasonable for him to have believed that the employee had authority to agree to the write-off, or the limited authority to communicate it, the first claimant did not have any honest belief that the employee had any such authority.
Personal injuries – Damages. The claimant sought an indemnity from the Motor Insurers' Bureau for injuries that he sustained when he was struck by an uninsured vehicle on private land. At first instance the judge held that EU Directive (EC) 2009/103 relating to compulsory motor insurance had direct effect against the MIB as an emanation of the State, so that the MIB was liable to indemnify the claimant in respect of the injury suffered. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissing MIB's appeal, held that, whilst the UK government had failed to fulfil its obligations under the 2009 Directive to ensure liability in respect of use of vehicles on private land, the MIB had had conferred on it the remedy for that failure.
Landlord and tenant – Agricultural tenancy. A appellant widow appealed, as the executrix of her deceased husband's will, against a judge's decision that a tenancy, concerning land that the deceased had farmed prior to his death, had been validly terminated by the respondent landlords, and granting the latter possession of the farm. The Queen's Bench Division, in dismissing the appeal, held that the appellant, through the evidence and argument she had presented at trial, had not persuaded the judge to find it more probable than not that the notice to quit had not been delivered, and that there was no basis on which, sitting on appeal, the court could say that the judge, to the contrary, should have been so persuaded.
Judicial review – Availability of remedy. The appellant's appeal against a refusal of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago to grant permission for judicial review was allowed in part. The Privy Council held that the appellant had an arguable claim for judicial review in relation to the defendant company's decision to refuse to disclose certain statements concerning a decision to withdraw a claim against its executive director.
Arbitration – Agreement. In accordance with art 272 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Court of Justice of the European Union had jurisdiction to give judgment pursuant to any arbitration clause contained in a contract concluded by or on behalf of the EU, whether that contract be governed by public or private law. In accordance with art 256(1) TFEU, the General Court generally had the jurisdiction to hear and determine at first instance actions or proceedings referred to in art 272 TFEU. Consequently, the General Court granted the European Investment Bank judgment in default against Syria in relation to sums due under a loan agreement entered into by the parties concerning the reinforcement of the electricity distribution system in Syria, plus default interest on the principal amounts and the contractual interest.
Family proceedings – Orders in family proceedings. Where the court had found that the mother had caused various physical injuries to one of her children, and emotional harm to the other child, it was held to be in the children's welfare that they should live in Portugal with the second respondent (the biological father of one of the children and the person registered as the father on the other child's Portuguese birth certificate) and his partner. The Family Division, in approving the applicant local authority's proposed plan and arrangement, concerning the children, held that it was clear, from the evidence, that the father and his partner were able to offer a good home to the children, that the risks posed by the mother and her lack of capability ruled her out as their potential carer and that it was not in their welfare to have anything other than supervised contact with her.
Minor – Abduction. Neither of the defences relied on by the father had been established. Accordingly, the Family Division allowed the mother's application, under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980, for the child to be returned to New Zealand, in circumstances where the child had travelled to the UK to spend time with the father, but had not been returned to New Zealand, where he had been living with the mother.
Practice – Pre trial or post judgment relied. On an appeal against a determination of whether the appellant mother had harmed her child, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowing the appeal by consent, made observations regarding the apparent common practice in the Family Court of parties requesting extensive clarification of draft judgments. The court stated that requests for clarification should not be routine and should only be made in accordance with a Practice Note set out in the authorities.
Employment – Discrimination. It was not unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex discrimination, whether direct, indirect, or because the operation of the sex equality clause implied into all terms of work by s 66 of the Equality Act 2010, for men to be paid less on shared parental leave than birth mothers were paid on statutory maternity leave. In so deciding, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed appeals from two father's challenging the shared parental leave provisions of Children and Families Act 2014.
Landlord and tenant – Lease. The appellant's appeal against a decision of the Mauritian Court of Appeal failed. The proceedings concerned a written agreement for the sale of leasehold land, in circumstances where it had been necessary to obtain permission from the lessor for the transfer of the leasehold rights from the vendor to the purchaser. The Privy Council held that, among other things, the Mauritian Court of Appeal had been entitled to re-examine the facts upon a correct application of the relevant law, and had been entitled to conclude, that the sale agreement had lapsed by the time that the proceedings had been commenced.