Customs and excise – Duties. The Revenue and Customs Commissioners had no power under s 88C of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 or s 9 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 to approve temporarily an existing trader whom it had determined not to be a fit and proper person. The Supreme Court further held that a conclusion that the High Court could grant an injunction where the wholesaler's appeal rights under art 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights would be infringed looked worryingly like endorsing the exercise of inherent authority to override an Act of Parliament, but that the wholesalers' Convention rights were not endangered.
Magistrates – Jurisdiction. The relevant caselaw established that Parliament had to be taken to have intended that compliance with the requirements set out in ss 17A and 20 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1980 was a precondition of a magistrates' court having jurisdiction to try an either-way offence, at least in the absence of clear evidence that the accused was himself a party to deliberate misleading of the court as to the identity of the person appearing before it. Accordingly, the Administrative Court allowed the claimant's application for judicial review of his convictions for failure to comply with enforcement notices in relation to breaches of planning control in circumstances where the claimant had been impersonated by his agent.
Minor – Custody. There was no doubt that, on an interim basis, the child's (K's) welfare would be best promoted by being reunited with his mother, in tandem with the continuation of the care that his grandmother and grandfather had provided over the last year. Accordingly, the Family Division allowed the mother's application for an order for K's return from India to the jurisdiction of England and Wales for a period of around six months from the date of his return.
Practice – Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The defendant sewage undertaker's application to strike out the claimant's claim succeeded or the basis of, amongst other things, issue and cause of action estoppel. The Chancery Division, further held that the claimant's application to amend the claim form was to be dismissed as it had sought to add a further ground which had already been decided and was accordingly an abuse of process.
Settlement – Accruer clause. The judge had been correct in his construction of the terms of a settlement and determination of how a disputed share of the settlement fund, which had been held by an individual who had died without leaving children, should be applied. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the appellant's appeal.
Police – Unlawful conduct. In finding that a police officer's actions in striking the respondent with a baton during an arrest had been disproportionate, the trial judge had erred in expressing specific findings as to whether the officer had intended to injure the respondent. The Queen's Bench Division held that there had been a lack of express reference by the judge of her findings and it was accordingly right to remit the matter for those matters to be considered afresh.
Legal aid – Civil legal aid. The defendant Director of Legal Aid Casework had not been wrong in refusing to grant the first interested party civil legal aid to challenge prohibitions in a public spaces protection order, to the extent that he had relied on the ground that the challenge had not had the potential to produce a benefit for her or a member of her family in the sense required by para 19(3) of Sch 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Accordingly, the Administrative Court, having determined the meaning of 'benefit', dismissed her application for judicial review.
Sentence – Consecutive sentence. It could not be said that the defendant's total sentence of five-and-a-half years' imprisonment had been other than just and proportionate to reflect the totality of the serious offending against the background of such a bad record for similar offences. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, dismissed his appeal against the sentence imposed for robbery in a dwelling, burglary of that dwelling, theft of a vehicle driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance.
Sentence – Drugs offences. The defendants' drug operation could not arguably be placed in category 3 (street dealing), and fell between category 2 and category 1. However, the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, allowed the defendants' appeals against sentence.
Trinidad and Tobago – Constitution. Where the appellant Commissioner of Police of Trinidad and Tobago had wrongly interpreted the law as rendering the respondent, the then Superintendent of Police, ineligible to write a qualifying examinatio, with a view to promotion to Senior Superintendent, the Court of Appeal had been right to declare the Commissioner's decision null and void and ultra vires the Police Service Act and the Police Service Regulations 2007. Accordingly, the Privy Council dismissed the Commissioner's appeal.
Employment – Dismissal. There was no reason to interfere with the Supreme Court of Mauritius's conclusion that the appellant employer had failed to establish that it could not, in good faith, have taken any other course other than dismissal of the respondent employee. Accordingly, the Privy Council dismissed the employer's appeal against the Supreme Court's decision allowing the employee's appeal against the dismissal of his claim that he had been unjustifiably dismissed by the appellant employer.
Town and country planning – Enforcement notice. In an appeal by the London Borough of Brent against the decision of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who had dismissed an enforcement notice brought by the London Borough of Brent against a school, the Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court, held that the inspector erred by failing to have regard to the submission made that a material change of use by way of intensification occurred in 2016. The matter was remitted to the Secretary of State for re-hearing and determination.
Practice - Civil litigation - Case management – . A district judge had had jurisdiction to set aside her own judgment in circumstances where the judgment had been against a non-attendant entity which had not been a party to the proceedings prior to the hearing. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissing the appeal, held that the non-attendant party had not had the opportunity to give notice of its non-attendance and the district judge had had power under CPR 27.11 to set aside her own judgment.
European Union – Civil and commercial matters. Article 1(1) and (2)(a) of Regulation 44/2001 had to be interpreted as meaning that an action, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, concerning an application for dissolution of the property relationships arising out a de facto (unregistered) partnership, came within the concept of 'civil and commercial matters' within the meaning of art 1(1) of that regulation and fell, therefore, within the material scope of that regulation. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in proceedings concerning the issuance of the certificate referred to in art 53 of Regulation (EU) 1215/2012, for the purposes of enforcing a final judgment given against the respondent who had been in an unregistered non-marital partnership with the applicant.
Libel and slander – Defamatory words. The article complained of in a libel action did not mean that the claimant was one of two people found 'guilty of killing a woman while racing their cars'. No reader of the whole article could reasonably draw that conclusion. The Queen's Bench Division so held and, further, ruled on the meaning of the article complained of in respect of the claimant's behaviour in relation to an incident which had occurred in 2015.
Industrial relations – Trade union membership and activities. Following the rejection of its pay offer to its union member employees, the employer wrote to each employee individually with the terms of its offer. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that that did not fall within the 'prohibited result' provisions of s 145B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act 1992.
Company – Control. The proposed arrangements regulating the operation of the appellant as a professional company under the Bermuda Bar Act 1974 were not contrary to s 114 of, and Pt I of Sch 3 to, the Companies Act 1981 (the 1981 Act), which required local companies which carried on business in Bermuda to be controlled by Bermudians. Accordingly, the Privy Council, in advising Her Majesty that the appeal should be allowed, held that the respondent Bermuda Bar Council had fallen into error in refusing to grant a certificate of recognition as a professional company.
Practice – Summary judgment. The claimant was entitled to summary judgment in its claims for a declaration that there have been events of default under a mezzanine facility agreement (MFA) and a supplemental loan agreement (SLA) under which the claimant lent certain sums to the defendant, for the defendant to pay outstanding interest under the MFA, and for the defendant pay the principal and interest outstanding under the SLA. The Commercial Court further refused the defendant's applications for a stay of the proceedings or enforcement of summary judgment in the claimant's favour pending the outcome of an ICC arbitration.
Trade mark – Infringement. The claimant cosmetic companies' claim based upon trade mark infringement and passing off failed. The Chancery Division held that, among other things, there had been no likelihood of confusion and the case for infringement failed. Since there had been no likelihood of confusion, there were no considerations that were relevant under the law of passing off that would lead the court to find that the use of the sign had resulted in a misrepresentation to the average consumer, and hence the claim in passing off failed.