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.
Employment – Employee. The appellant executor of the estate of a former employee of the respondent appealed a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, that the employee had not received different treatment at the hands of the respondent compared to a comparator employee in breach of s 4(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The Privy Council, dismissing the executor's appeal, held that the Court of Appeal was correct in its analysis that there was no difference in treatment between the two employees.
Family proceedings – Order in family proceedings. Notwithstanding that a child (aged 17) was demonstrably at grave risk of serious, and possibly fatal, harm from his alleged involvement in gang activity, the High Court did not have power, under its inherent jurisdiction and on the application of a local authority, to authorise the placement, in secure accommodation, of the child who was not 'looked after' by that authority, within the meaning of s 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, and whose parent with parental responsibility objected to that course of action. Accordingly, the Family Division dismissed the authority's application, holding that, in circumstances where there was no care order in force concerning the child and where the child was not a 'looked after' child, for the purposes of ChA 1989 s 25, the effect of the order sought by the authority would be to require the child to be removed from his mother's care and be accommodated by the authority; a course of action which, in the circumstances, was prohibited by ChA 1989 s 100(2)(b).
Contempt of court – Committal. While the court had demanded strict compliance with the procedural requirements for committal applications, that did not require slavish adherence to the technicalities, regardless of the justice of the case. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division authorised, to the extent necessary, alternative service of the claimant company's committal application against its former employee (concerning the alleged breach of an order for delivery up) and supporting evidence. The court further held that no injustice had been caused to the defendant by the claimant's failure to adduce its witness's evidence in the form of an affidavit. On the facts, the claimant's application was allowed, in part, and consideration would be given to what sanction should be imposed.
Criminal law – Procedure. On its true construction, Condition 4 in s 1(6) of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, namely an offence or offences committed to any extent (whether directly or indirectly) as a result of, in connection with or in response to religious or political hostility of one person or group of persons towards another person or group of persons, included a member of the armed forces shooting a person he had suspected of being a member of the Irish Republican Army. Consequently, the Supreme Court dismissed the appellant former soldier's appeal against the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland to issue a certificate pursuant to s 1 of that Act, directing that the appellant stand trial for attempted murder and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm by a judge sitting without a jury. The Court decided, among other things, that the DPP had acted within the powers conferred on him by the Act.
Local authority – Duty of care. The claimants' appeal against the dismissal of their claim against the defendant local authority failed. They had brought proceedings against the authority, alleging negligence in that it had breached its duties to protect them from abuse and anti-social behaviour from their neighbours. The Supreme Court held that the particulars of claim did not set out an arguable claim that the authority had owed the claimants a duty of care. Further, the authority was not liable on the basis of vicarious liability for the negligence of its employees.
European Union – Consumer protection. In a preliminary ruling in proceedings between the applicant leasing company and the borrower concerning the invalidity of a loan agreement concluded by the parties, on account of the fact that the agreement did not refer to the exchange rate applied when the funds were advanced, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on the interpretation of arts 3(1), 4(2) and 6(1) of Directive (EEC) 93/13.
Easement – Right of way. Applying the relevant legal principles when considering use of an easement following a change in the dominant tenement, the Chancery Division held that the claimant's right of way, as owner of a coach house, over a track on a common owned by the defendants, extended to the claimant's proposed development which involved demolition of the coach house and the erection of four terraced houses. Consequently, the court granted the claimant's application for a declaration to that effect. The court further determined where the legal boundary between the parties' properties lay and also decided that the claimant had a right of drainage.
Injunction – Breach of injunction. There was no general principle that only in exceptional circumstances should a court grant an injunction where an alternative, specific statutory remedy was available or the court should not do so where breach could carry more severe sanctions than breach of a Public Spaces Protection Order, nor was there any basis for the argument that local authorities could not seek a remedy with more serious consequences in the event of a breach or that the court could not grant such a remedy if it considered it justified and proportionate so to do. Consequently, the Queens' Bench Division dismissed the 16th respondent's application for discharge of an injunction, which he had allegedly breached, made against persons unknown with a power of arrest attached, granted to Birmingham City Council to tackle the problem of car cruising.
Shipping – Charterparty. The claimant's application for a declaration that the English court lacked jurisdiction in a dispute concerning the transportation of a cargo to China failed. The Commercial Court held that there had not been an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of the courts of England and Wales which had satisfied the requirements of art 25 of Regulation (EU) 1215/2012, and, therefore, the application failed.
Minor – Wrongful removal or retention. The father's application, under the Hague Convention 1980, for the summary return of the child (IA) to Germany, where she had been habitually resident, was dismissed. The Family Division held that, on the facts, the father had consented to the continued presence of IA in the jurisdiction in which she had been retained (the UK). Further, in circumstances where both parents had failed to apply in Germany for substantive relief concerning IA, the court reiterated that, where a parent submitted an application for the return of a child to the land of her habitual residence, it was implicit that he/she intended, at the earliest opportunity, to commence a claim for substantive relief in the court of that child's homeland.
Extradition – Discharge. The balance sheet which the judge had drawn up had been fundamentally flawed and she appeared to have given decisive weight to the delay in the case, resulting in an overall conclusion which had been wrong. Accordingly, the Administrative Court allowed the appellant judicial authority's appeal against the judge's decision to order the respondent's discharge from extradition to face allegations of 50 offences of fraud.
Solicitor – Professional negligence. The defendant solicitors' firms were held in breach of contract and/or negligent, concerning advice given to the claimant company in respect of a property transaction. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division awarded the claimant damages of £221,209.22, holding, among other things, that, even where a third party had given evidence, the court should prefer the analysis that loss of chance damages applied.
Shipping – Charterparty. The claimant owners' appeal against the findings of an arbitral tribunal succeeded in part, in proceedings arising out of the capture of a vessel by pirates. At first instance, an arbitral tribunal had rejected the owners' claim for hire, on the grounds that it had been excluded by two additional clauses in the charterparty. The Commercial Court held that one of the two clauses did not exclude the claim, but the other did.
Company – Scheme of arrangement. Applying the relevant tests as set out in Re TDG plc 1 BCLC 445 , there was no reason to refuse to sanction the scheme of arrangement, pursuant to Pt 26 of the Companies Act 2006, to enable Medico Energi Global PTE to acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Ophir Energy plc (the company). Accordingly, the Companies Court sanctioned the scheme, taking the view that it could not place any weight on the points raised by one of the company's larger institutional shareholders and was not persuaded by those points to withhold its sanction for the scheme.
Mental capacity – Treatment. A lady in her 40s (P), who had suffered a severe brain injury after overdosing on heroin, lacked capacity to make decisions about her medical treatment, and specifically about the withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH). The Court of Protection, having considered all of the evidence, including that of P's eldest daughter and the medical evidence, ruled that it was in P's best interests for the court to consent, on her behalf, to the withdrawal of CANH; which would result in her death. The court considered that that course of action accorded with P's clearly expressed views when she had been capacitous.
Costs – Conditional fee agreement. The judge had not been wrong in law by misconstruing and misapplying the presumptions in CPR 46.9(3) or in his construction and application of CPR 46.9(4), in particular as permitting the court to reduce an agreed success fee on a solicitor and client basis by the court's own assessment of the degree of risk present. However, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, partially allowed the firm's appeal, as the judge had been wrong in law in characterising an after the event insurance premium as a solicitor's disbursement liable to assessment under s 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
Extradition – Fugitive. Although, having found that the appellant was not a fugitive, the judge's choice of language had not been accurate, overall her decision had not been wrong. Accordingly, the Administrative Court dismissed the appellant's appeal against orders for his extradition to Poland to face trial for drug trafficking, violent assault and stealing.
Sentencing – Sexual offences. The judge had failed to attach sufficient weight to the maximum available for the offence for which the defendant had been convicted was 10 years' imprisonment and the culpability had been that of a 16-year-old boy whose single offence had been the result of teenage experimentation. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, quashed the sentence of six and half years' imprisonment and substituted one of three years.
Criminal law – Drugs offences. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, exercised its discretion to substitute a plea of guilty to the offence of attempting to possess a quantity of diamorphine with intent to supply to another, rather than the substantive count after forensic analysis of revealed that it was not heroin, but a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine. If further substituted a sentence of 27 months' imprisonment for the 3 years imposed for the substantive offence.