Motor insurance – Personal injury claim. The claimant's claim against the second defendant insurer was struck out and summary judgment was granted in favour of the insurer. The claimant had suffered serious personal injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle driven by the first defendant, who had not had a valid driving licence or insurance to drive the vehicle. The vehicle had been insured in the name of the first defendant's father. The claimant sought to set aside a declaration, granted to the insurer under s 152 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, that the insurer was entitled to avoid the policy on the grounds of material misrepresentations. The Queen's Bench Division ruled, among other things, that the insurer had a statutory defence to the claim based on s 152(2) of RTA 1988, and that there was no obligation on the court, or power, to disapply the domestic legislation on the basis of any claimed incompatibility with Directive (EC) 2009/103.
Landlord and tenant – Tenancy. The appellant tenants' appeal against a preliminary finding in a claim for new tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, concerning the sale of an airfield, was dismissed. The Chancery Division held that, among other things, the judge had been entitled to approach the matter of the respondent freehold owner's company's lack of intent as he had done and that the judge had not failed to take proper account of the relevant development plan.
Personal injury – Damages. The claimant fisherman claimed damages for personal injury sustained while working onboard a vessel owned by the first defendant company. The Admiralty Court, in dismissing the claim, held that there had been no failure on the part of the second defendant (the then skipper of the vessel) with respect to his duty of care to the claimant. The injury to the claimant's hand had not been caused by any fault of the second defendant, but had been entirely caused by the claimant's own fault in failing to take sensible and reasonable care of himself. The court further ruled that the injury had not been caused by a person for whom the first defendant had been vicariously liable, or by any defect in the vessel or her equipment.
European Union – Public procurement. Article 10(h) of Directive (EU) 2014/24 should be interpreted as meaning that the exclusion from the application of the public procurement rules that it laid down, covered the care of patients in an emergency situation in a rescue vehicle by an emergency worker/paramedic, covered by CPV code 75252000‑7 (rescue services) and transport by qualified ambulance covered by CPV code 85143000‑3 (ambulance services), provided that, as regards transport by qualified ambulance, it was in fact undertaken by personnel properly trained in first aid and, second, it was provided to a patient whose state of health was at risk of deterioration during that transport. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the direct award of a contract for emergency services in the respondent state.
European Union – Citizenship. The concept of a 'direct descendant' of a citizen of the EU referred to in art 2(2)(c) of Directive (EC) 2004/38, amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing certain other Directives, had to be interpreted as not including a child who had been placed in the permanent legal guardianship of a citizen of the Union under the Algerian 'kafala' system, because that placement did not create any parent-child relationship between them. However, it was for the competent national authorities to facilitate the entry and residence of such a child as one of the other family members of a citizen of the Union pursuant to art 3(2)(a) of that directive, read in the light of arts 7 and 24(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the refusal of the Entry Clearance Officer, UK Visa Section, to grant the applicant child entry clearance for the territory of the UK as an adopted child of a national of the European Economic Area.
Sale of land – Repudiation of contract. The first appellant as vendor had been under an express obligation to convey eight lots to the defendant, with good marketable title and, if that had required planning permission for sub-division, he had needed to obtain it so as to be able to perform his primary obligation under the agreement for sale. The Privy Council, in dismissing the appellants' appeal, further held that the first appellant had committed a repudiatory breach of the contract by transferring the lots to his sister and the respondent had been entitled to substantial damages.
Employment – Discrimination. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) had erred in, among other things, holding that the Employment Tribunal (the ET) had engaged in an unjustified leap of reasoning in finding that the failure by the respondent NHS foundation Trust to follow its grievance procedure had amounted to less favourable treatment for the purpose of s 13 of the Equality Act 2010. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appellant general surgeon's appeal against the decision of the EAT and restored the order of the ET, thereby allowing his claims for direct race discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal.
Police – Complaint against police. The proper discharge of the statutory functions which the respondent Police Service Commission had had required it to make further inquiries into the complaints it had received against a superintendent before recommending him for promotion to the rank of senior superintendent. Accordingly, the Privy Council humbly advised Her Majesty to allow the appellant human rights organisation's appeal against the rejection of its application for judicial review of the decision to recommend the officer for promotion.
Easement – Water. The claimants' action against the Environment Agency for interference with their quasi-easements over an artificial watercourse was dismissed. The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) held that although the basic principle was that there was no natural right to water in an artificial watercourse, there were, however, various cases in which riparian rights had been held to exist in respect of an artificial channel, such as that at issue in the present proceedings. However, on the evidence, there had been no interference with the claimants quasi-easements and accordingly, their claim for compensation failed.
European Union – Consumer protection. Articles 6 and 7 of Council Directive (EEC) 93/13 should be interpreted, first, as precluding an accelerated repayment clause of a mortgage loan contract that had been found to be unfair from being maintained in part, with the elements which made it unfair removed, where the removal of those elements would be tantamount to revising the content of that clause by altering its substance, and, second, as not precluding the national court from compensating for the invalidity of such an unfair term by replacing that term with the new wording of the legislative provision on which it had been based, subject to certain conditions. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the conclusions to be drawn from the finding that an accelerated repayment clause set out in a loan agreement secured by a mortgage concluded between two parties was unfair.
Negligence – Clinical negligence action. The claimant's claim against the defendant GP, alleging clinical negligence concerning a vasectomy, which had resulted in the claimant suffering from chronic scrotal pain, was dismissed. The Queen's Bench Division held that, on the balance of probabilities, the claimant had been adequately informed of a small risk of chronic pain, and of the range of severity and possible effect on lifestyle if it materialised. Accordingly, he had given informed consent for the procedure.
Practice – Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The claimants' application for summary judgment succeeded, in a claim concerning alleged breaches of trust in a project to purchase property. The Commercial Court held that the first defendant company had no real prospect of successfully defending the claim against it. There was no other reason why the claim for breach of trust should be permitted to go to trial.
Sentence – Fine. The correct categorisation for the likelihood of level A harm arising from outbreaks of legionella in and amongst the defendant company's employees and local population around its place of business in a densely populated urban area was 'medium', and the judge's categorisation of 'high' could not be sustained in the light of the statistical evidence. Accordingly, the fine for those counts would be reduced from £800,000 to £380,000, which together with a fine of £800,000 relating to the explosion in a flocking machine, did not offend against the principle of totality.
Practice – Stay. The proceedings arose from the first applicant tax office's and the second applicant bank's appeals against the decision of the respondent joint special administrators to reject their respective proofs of debt in relation to a company in administration. The Chancery Division held that the first applicant's application to stay its appeal in order to allow the underlying claim, which formed the subject of the proof, to be resolved by the specialist German tax or fiscal courts, would be allowed. It further held that the second applicant's applications for a stay would be declined.
Practice – Summary judgment. The claimant bank's application for summary judgment succeeded, in a claim concerning the alleged failure of the first defendant company (Assam) to pay sums owing under an amended facility agreement (the AFA). The Commercial Court held that, on the evidence, Assam had no realistic prospect of successfully denying at a trial that the disputed four categories of payment had been contractually owed. Consequently, the allegation that the bank had made a misrepresentation as to the principal sum owed, which had induced Assam to enter into the AFA, fell away.
Injunction – Interim. In conspiracy to injure by unlawful means proceedings brought by the respondent cyber-security business against the appellants, that included a rival business, the judge had been correct to grant an injunction restraining the appellants from carrying on penetration testing in-house. However, the scope of the injunction had been too wide insofar as it prevented the appellants from carrying on penetration testing and red teaming by outsourcing, as that was their existing business. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the appellants' appeal against the grant of a springboard injunction in favour of the respondents, save to the extent that the injunction was too wide in its scope.
Solicitor – Practice. Following an intervention into a solicitor's practice by the Law Society for dishonesty, it could not be said that the words 'all sums of money held by or on behalf of the solicitor or his firm in connection with … his practice or former practice' in para 6(2)(a) in sch 1 of the Solicitors Act 1974 included the right to recover loans made by the errant solicitor from his client account to third parties, prior to the intervention. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, accordingly allowed the defendant solicitor's appeal.
Environment – Site of special scientific interest. It was accepted that Natural England had a duty under s 28G of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to take reasonable steps to further the conservation and enhancement of the flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features by reason of which a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) was of special scientific interest. The s 28G duty applied when Natural England made decisions on badger control licences. However, the Administrative Court held, among other things, that in the present proceedings, only some of the sites at issue had special features. Consequently, the claimant's case that in assessing the risks in those sites, Natural England had omitted relevant interest features which could be adversely affected by operations under those licences, had limited success.
Practice – Contempt of Court. The appellant's contempt of court in breaching a Worldwide freezing orders designed to provide payment to investors by the Financial Conduct Authority was plainly so serious that no sanction other than a significant term of imprisonment could be justified. The sentence of six months had been imposed as punishment for the past breaches, taking into account the admissions made (not at the earliest opportunity) by the appellant. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that on that basis, it could not be said that a term of six months was outside the range reasonably open to the judge.
Income tax – Earnings from employment. There was nothing either in the wording of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 or in the external material on which the taxpayer companies relied that supported their construction of the definition of a 'managed service company' (MSC) provider in s 61B(1)(d) of that Act. Consequently, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) had correctly decided that the company which had set up the taxpayers was an MSC provider, so that the taxpayers were MSCs. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the taxpayers' appeal against the tribunal's decision.