Pension – War widow's pension. The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) had correctly decided that the effect of the relevant provisions of the Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 2006, SI 2006/606, was that the respondent war widow had been entitled to a restored war widow's pension from the day after her second husband had died in 2000. Further, there had been no obligation on her to make a claim at that time, with the result that she had actually become entitled to such a pension from that date. Consequently, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the Secretary of State for Defence's appeal against the tribunal's decision.
Practice – Parties. The appellant Jamaican General Legal Council's appeal failed. Proceedings had been initiated by an individual who purported to represent the complainant. The complainant had later ratified the individual's appointment. The Privy Council held that there was no statutory requirement, express or implied, in the Jamaican Legal Profession Act (the LPA) or elsewhere, that prohibited the validation of the initiation of proceedings under s 12 of the LPA by way of ratification by the person alleged to be aggrieved.
Contract – Bond. The claimant trustee claimed for unpaid monies due under bonds pursuant to a trust deed, with appended bond conditions, it had entered into with the first defendant issuer, as guaranteed by the second defendant guarantor. The Commercial Court found, among other things, that the claimant had validly exercised its right in respect of bonds repayable as a result of early redemption. Accordingly, it held that the claimant succeeded in its claim against the defendants, and was entitled to, among other things, $28,201,878.12 less $760,744.53 applied from dividends paid on shares that had been pledged as security by the first defendant.
Practice – Pre-trial and post judgment relief. Although there was no conceptual or legal prohibition on suing 'persons unknown', a court should be inherently cautious about granting injunctions against unknown persons since the reach of such an injunction was necessarily difficult to assess in advance. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, set out broad requirements to be considered when granting such an injunction and found that the injunction granted in the present case only partially met those requirements.
Probate – Practice. In contested probate proceedings arising from the respondent accountant of the deceased's application for probate, none of the grounds of appeal by the appellant daughter of the deceased had come anywhere near placing the appeal within that very limited special category which justified a departure from the Privy Council's practice of declining to interfere with concurrent findings of pure fact. Accordingly, the Privy Council, dismissed the appellant's appeal against the findings of the judge and the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, that included that the deceased's will had been signed and duly executed by the deceased.
Trade mark – Infringement. The appellants' application for a stay of proceedings had been dismissed on the basis that the English proceedings brought by Easygroup Ltd (the respondent) and the Cypriot proceedings, brought by the appellants, did not have the same 'cause of action' for the purposes of art 29 of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012. The appellants had issued proceedings in Cyprus against, among others, the respondent, for declarations regarding the appellants' continued use of the phrase 'easy rent a car' and or similar phrases, which were similar to the respondent's registered trade marks. The respondent had subsequently commenced proceedings against the appellants in the UK for alleged infringements of their UK-registered marks and passing off. On appeal by the appellants regarding the dismissal of their stay application, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that the 'cause' and the 'object' of the two sets of proceedings were the same and accordingly, allowed the appellants' appeal.
Family proceedings – Financial remedies. The wife's application for a reporting restrictions order, in advance of the hearing of her appeal in financial remedy proceedings, was allowed. The order had been sought to protect the identity of the parties' son (AB). The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, ruled that it was one of those exceptional cases, where it was appropriate to make orders for anonymisation and the restriction on reporting certain aspects of the case. It further held that the balance between the rights of the media under art 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the public interest in open justice, and the rights of the parties and of AB, under art 8 of the Convention, on the facts of the case, tipped heavily in favour of the making of the reporting restrictions order.
Practice – Striking out. The claimant leaseholder's appeal against the striking out of his claim succeeded in part. The proceedings concerned a compulsory purchase order obtained by the defendant local authority for the development of land that included the flats where the claimant had an interest. The claimant contended that he had accepted an offer made in a letter by the authority that demonstrated an intention of the authority to purchase the property from him. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division held that there was a real prospect of the claimant establishing at trial that the letter had amounted to an open contract for the sale of the claimant's leasehold interest in the property.
Local Government – Landlord and Tenant. A landlord could be liable under s 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 by reason of a defect which would have been discovered if the landlord had implemented a system of regular inspection. In so holding, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the claimant tenant's appeal and held that to hold to the contrary negated the purpose and spirit of s 4 which imposed upon a landlord a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that persons who might reasonably be affected by a defect were reasonably safe.
Road traffic – Goods vehicle. The justices had not erred in finding that the respondent's truck was constructed or adapted for one or more of the purposes of towing, lifting or transporting disabled vehicles. Accordingly, the Administrative Court, in dismissing the appellant Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's appeal by way of case stated, held that they had not erred in finding the respondent not guilty of using on a road a goods vehicle for hire or reward, without an operator's licence, on the basis that the vehicle was exempt from the requirement to hold an operator's licence, as it was a recovery vehicle.
Medical practitioner – Negligence. The claimant sought damages for alleged clinical negligence, resulting in a delayed diagnosis of *** cancer. The Queen's Bench Division, in dismissing the claim, held that the defendant's consultant *** surgeon, who had seen the claimant at an appointment in March 2011, had not been negligent in her management of the claimant, who had eventually been diagnosed in 2013. The court preferred the interpretation of the national guidelines contended for by the defendant's expert, and found that he represented a responsible body of medical opinion that would not have performed a biopsy in the circumstances that had existed in March 2011.
Practice – Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The first claimant suffered a significant brain injury after he was struck by a car in France. The claimants brought a claim against the defendant company (the driver's insurer), which admitted liability concerning the first claimant, but not as to his injuries. The insurer made an interim payment. The claimants applied for a further interim payment. The Queen Bench Division, in dismissing their application, held that the likely capital sum of damages to be awarded to the first claimant was £660,000 and that, taken together, the figures claimed, which the court had accepted, totalled about £370,378, which was substantially below the figure of £660,00 for the interim payment sought, when added to the previous interim payments, to be a reasonable proportion of that capital sum.
Civil procedure – Personal injury – Abuse of process – Collateral attack on conviction: Court of Session: In an action in which the pursuer, who was convicted of causing death/serious injury by dangerous driving, the jury having rejected his special defence of automatism, contended that the fatal accident occurred after he blacked out and alleged that the defender, his GP, was negligent in prescribing antihypertensive medication, seeking reparation for psychological injury resulting from the accident, the cost of instructing his defence and wage loss, the court held that the pursuer's case amounted to a collateral challenge to his conviction contrary to public policy and was therefore an abuse of process, and it dismissed the action on that basis.
Medical negligence – Liability – Causation – Damages. Court of Session: In an action by the surviving partner of a 77-year-old woman, seeking damages in respect of her death on 8 January 2013 due to ischaemic bowel and superior mesenteric artery thrombus, which he averred was caused by the negligence of a junior doctor then in the defenders' employment, the court held that the doctor was negligent in failing to advise the deceased that she required to be admitted to hospital and failing to carry out a rectal examination, that the pursuer had proved the necessary causal link between the doctor's negligence and the deceased's death; and it made awards of damages for inter alia, transmissible solatium of £2,000, and for distress, grief and loss of society of £75,000.
Bankruptcy – Sequestration – Gratuitous alienation. Court of Session: In an action in which the trustee on the sequestrated estate of a debtor sought the debtor's share of the sale proceeds of subjects where he and the defender had formerly lived as husband and wife, the subjects having been sold following their separation and the whole of the sale proceeds paid to the defender, the trustee contending that that was a challengeable alienation, after a debate on the pursuer's general plea to the relevancy of the defences the court excluded from probation those averments which bore to invoke the provisions of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 as a basis for resisting decree and quoad ultra allowed a proof before answer, leaving all pleas standing.
Personal injury – Solicitors. Where the appellant (BA) had admitted liability for an injury sustained by the respondent employee at work, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, ruled that the district judge had been entitled to allow the costs claimed by the respondent, including the VAT, regardless of whether a medical reporting organisation (AML), which the respondent's solicitors had commissioned to secure medical reports and records in relation to the respondent's claim, had actually been obliged to charge VAT as it had. The court, in dismissing BA's appeal, held that the district judge had been amply entitled to take the view that the sums claimed in the relevant invoices had been reasonably and proportionately incurred and reasonable and proportionate in amount, so as to satisfy the requirements of CPR 44.3, and that it was readily comprehensible that the district judge had not thought that it had been incumbent on the respondent's solicitors to investigate the VAT position. Guidance was given on when VAT could be charged in cases where solicitors, instructed on personal injury claims, had used the services of a medical reporting organisation.
European Union – Public procurement. Article 45(2), first subparagraph, point (b) of Directive (EC) 2004/18 should be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which allowed the exclusion from a public procurement procedure of an economic operator who, at the date of the exclusion decision, had filed an application for an arrangement with creditors, while reserving the right to present a plan which provided for the continuation of the business. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in proceedings concerning the exclusion from the ad hoc consortium of undertakings of which the applicant was the representative, from participating in a tendering procedure for a public services contract.
Settlement – Variation. The clamaint's application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 to vary the trusts of a settlement made by him was allowed. The Business and Property Courts held, among other things, that it was in the interests of the unborn and unascertained beneficiaries as well as the trust as a whole for the court to approve the conferral of a power on the trustees to enlarge administrative powers, including a power to release or restrict them.
Shipping – Crew. In proceedings arising from the deliberate starting of a fire on a vessel which destroyed the cargo, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, clarified that as the fire had been deliberately caused with intent to cause damage, the owners of the vessel were exempt from liability under art IV.2(b) of the Hague-Visby Rules.
Bank – Securities. The application of the first defendant finance company and the second defendant bank to strike out the claimant company's claim against them succeeded. The Chancery Division held that the proposition in the claim that the default in relation to events of default concerning two series of debt securities could in some way be attributed to the second defendant was unarguable.