Bankruptcy – Order. The applicant's application to annul a bankruptcy order made against him failed. The Chancery Division held that the applicant's conduct demonstrated a wholesale disregard for the orders of the Court and the procedures that it had in place for dealing with cases justly and at proportionate cost. Further, it was not appropriate to stay the application pending payment of outstanding costs liabilities in circumstances where the source of funds remained unknown and there was a real question as to whether they were monies within the bankruptcy estate.
Town and country planning – Permission for development. The decisions in both cases to grant planning permission were affected by an error of law related to the failure to undertake appropriate assessment. However, the Administrative Court held that the decision would inevitably have been the same in the first case, but that test was not passed in second case and, therefore, in that latter case the defendant Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission had to be quashed.
Costs – Order for costs. In deciding what order to make about costs in the case of a Norwich Pharmacal order, he judge had adopted the wrong starting point and according the cost order made would be set aside. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, exercised its discretion to make no order for costs and restated the principles of costs on Norwich Pharmacal application.
Value added tax – Input tax. The provision of the cars by the taxpayer NHS Trust to its employees under a salary sacrifice scheme (the car scheme) could not be regarded as a supply of services because it had been de-supplied by the Value Added Tax (Treatment of Transactions) Order 1992, SI 1992/630. It followed that the leasing of the cars by the Trust could not be an economic activity because that required a supply of services. However, pursuant to s 41(3) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 and para 3 of the Contracted Out Services Direction, the four-year limit imposed by the Revenue and Customs Commissioners was reasonable. Consequently, the Upper Tribunal (Tax Chamber) allowed the Trust's claim for recovery of all of the VAT incurred in relation to the car scheme but limited the claim to the period from 1 October 2012 to 31 January 2017.
Contempt of court – Committal. Tommy Robinson was committed to prison for a period of 19 weeks and had to be released once half of that period had been served. The Divisional Court imposed that penalty for his reckless disobedience of an important court order imposed to protect the integrity of a trial and subsequent trials, and of conduct which created a substantial risk of a serious impediment to the integrity of the trial process.
Capital allowances – Claims. The words of para 82(1) of Sch 18 to the Finance Act 1998 were clear and unambiguous: a claim for capital allowances could be made at any time up to whichever was the last of the four dates specified in subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d). Consequently, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) dismissed the appeal by the Revenue and Customs Commissioners against the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), taking the view that the FTT had correctly held that as the taxpayer's claims for capital allowances had fallen within para 82(1)(b) of Sch 18, they had been timeously made.
Restraint of trade by agreement – Contract. The claimant company's application for an interim injunction to prevent the defendants working for another company prior to trial failed. The Queen's Bench Division held that the reach of a convenant in the defendants' contracts ought to be taken to be worldwide, and that the evidence did not come close to demonstrating that, at the time when the contracts of employment for the defendants had been entered into, having regard to the contractual provisions as a whole and to the factual matrix to which the contract would reasonably have been expected to apply, the claimant had required the defendants to be shut out entirely from working in the foreign exchange markets, anywhere in the world, for a further period of five months (having served one month on 'garden leave') so as to protect its business interests.
Damages – Personal injury. The claimant was entitled to damages of £79,755, as there was little difficulty in concluding that she had established, on the balance of probabilities, that she had been the subject of five further occasions of abuse by the defendant, in addition to two occasions for which he had been convicted of sexual abuse. The Queen's Bench Division awarded £10,000 as aggravated damages, and special damages of £10,530 for therapy and travelling costs.
Criminal evidence – Missing evidence. The judge had been right to allow the case to proceed when evidence gathered by the police, relevant to the defendant's defence, had been destroyed by water damage and had been unavailable for the trial. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, having set out guidance on situations of missing records, dismissed the defendant's appeal against conviction for indecency with a child.
Family proceedings – Paternity. In a novel case, a mother was ordered to disclose to her solicitors, forthwith, the name and contact details of the man (X), with whom she had had an affair, and was believed to have conceived a child. The child had been raised as the only child of the mother and her husband (AB), but DNA tests had revealed that AB was not the child's biological father. AB, having heard rumours of the affair, applied for an order that the mother disclose X's identity, so that the child could be told. The Family Division held that the starting point was that the child had to be told sooner, rather than later, that AB was not his biological father, but that it would be wrong to disclose X's identity until answers to certain questions were known. Accordingly, the court ruled that the mother's solicitors had to write to X in agreed terms, requiring answers to various questions by a specified time. The matter was listed to be heard before the same judge no later than 16 August 2019. Further, it was agreed that AB would be granted parental responsibility and a 'spend time' order in respect of the child, with whom he had a close relationship.
Immigration – Asylum seekers. The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration Chamber) had found that the appellant asylum seeker had been complicit in the torture of prisoners in Iraq by treating prisoners as a doctor with the knowledge that some of those prisoners that he had treated were likely to have been tortured again. The Court of Appeal (Civil Division), allowing the appeal, held that the FTT's finding of complicity had relied upon its finding that if the appellant had not treated the prisoners they might not have been tortured further, which had amounted to an inference for which there had been no explanation of the factual basis and reasoning to support.
Sentence – Firearms offence. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, summarised the general principles and guideline sentences for those assuming leadership roles in a conspiracy to transfer firearms, for those in lower (subordinate) roles and for purchasers. It then dismissed the first and third defendants' appeals, but substituted the second defendants' sentence of 14 years with a sentence of 11 years as, even accepting she had been a key facilitator, a greater degree of disparity had been justified properly to reflect her role in the hierarchy.
Social security – Disablement benefit. The Inner House of the Court of Session had made a direction in respect of determining whether a claimant for personal independence payment under the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 had needed 'prompting' or had needed 'social support' to be able to engage with other people face-to-face, so as to attract greater weight in his assessment of needs. The Supreme Court, partly allowing the Secretary of State's appeal, held that what had brought the claimant into the category of requiring social support rather than that of prompting was that, to be able to engage with others, he needed that support to come from someone trained or experienced in assisting people to engage in social situations and, further, that that support was not limited to cases where the claimant had needed social support actually during the face-to-face engagement.
Divorce – Arbitration. The husband's application, under ss 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996, to vary an amended arbitration award by removing the award of spousal maintenance, was dismissed. The Family Division held that s 69 concerned an appeal in relation to an error of law, whereas the husband's complaints concerned the arbitrator's conduct of the arbitration and his assessment of income and needs. Further, the court ruled that there had been no serious irregularity, within the meaning of s 68, justifying remission or setting aside of the amended award. The court considered the limits on when an arbitrator could amend an award under AA 1996 s 57 and held that the husband was wrong to suggest that any error, on the part of arbitrator, in assessing income, should have been corrected in the husband's favour under s 57. The claimed errors did not fall within s 57 and the arbitrator had not erred in making the amended award. Further, the wife's application to show cause was allowed and the court held that the amended award would be made into an order of the court.
Immigration – Refugees. The defendant Secretary of State had not had due regard to the equality need listed in s 149(1)(b) of the Equality Act 2010, which had required him to confront the way in which, in its proposed form, the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme would, despite its widening, still not increase, or not materially increase, equality of opportunity for Palestine refugees from Syria. Accordingly, in that respect alone, the Administrative Court allowed the claimants' application for judicial review.
Value added tax – Personal liability notices. The First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)(the FTT) had erred in failing to acknowledge or give proper force to the position that, as a matter of principle, the need for statutory time limits to be respected was a matter of particular importance to the exercise of its discretion. Accordingly, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) allowed the appeal by the Revenue and Customs Commissioners (HMRC) against the FTT's decision which had allowed the respondent's application for permission to appeal out of time against the personal liability notices (PLNs) imposed on the respondent by HMRC following the insolvency of the company which the respondent had been a director of. The FTT's decision was remade on the basis that in all the circumstances of the case, the respondent had not given a sufficiently good reason for the serious and significant delay in appealing against those PLNs.
Pension – Pension scheme. The case concerned the tax liabilities on pensions, where the appellant police officers had retired before the normal minimum pension age of 55. The appellants appealed against a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman dismissing their complaints that they had not been made aware that retiring when they had done would make them liable to additional tax. The Chancery Division held that the appeal of two appellants against the Avon and Somerset police authority would be allowed. The case of three appellants against the Essex police authority would be remitted to the Pensions Ombudsman. However, the relevant chief constables were not liable to the appellants for the adverse tax consequences of what had occurred.
Immigration – Detention. The appellants had challenged their detention on immigration reasons by the respondent Secretary of State, the first appellant succeeding to a certain extent whilst the second appellant's claim had been dismissed. The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) held that, in both cases, the judge ought to have found that the Secretary of State had breached the public sector equality duty and had discriminated against the appellants by failing to make reasonable adjustments in breach of ss 20 and 29 of the Equality Act 2010.
Medical treatment – Minor aged 16. The applicant NHS Trust succeeded on its (without notice) application for the approval of a plan for the proposed treatment of the respondent, aged 16, who had refused treatment for a life-threatening condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The Family Division, in allowing the application, held that it was in B's best interests to receive the proposed treatment, in circumstances where, if left untreated, the DKA would be fatal to her.
Company – Shares. The parties' applications for summary judgment in a dispute concerning the sale of a company were largely unsuccessful. The Commercial Court held that, among other things, while the paragraph in issue of the share purchase agreement between the parties was a condition precedent, there were disputes of a factual nature as to whether or not the condition precedent to an expert determination has been satisfied, which were of a type which made the case unsuitable for summary judgment.