Brexit – Company. The statutory requirements had been satisfied in respect of the applicants' application for an insurance business transfer pursuant to Pt VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Among other things, the transfer provided certainty to the applicants' European Economic Area policyholders that their policies would continue to be serviced, irrespective of the outcome of Brexit. Accordingly, the Chancery Division sanctioned the transfer.
Family provision – Time for application. Although the application by the claimant, pursuant to s 4 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975), had been brought 25 years and 9 months after the 6 month deadline for doing so had expired, she had demonstrated compelling reasons why it was right and proper that the court should exercise its discretion in her favour. Accordingly, the Chancery Division allowed the claimant's application to bring a maintenance claim under the I(PFD)A 1975 s 1(2)(a).
Sentence – Sexual offences against children. The sentences of six years' and six years and nine months' imprisonment imposed on the offenders for offences including causing the first offender's child to engage in sexual activity, commencing when she was about two-years-old, had not been unduly lenient. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, held that the sentences had not been outside the range of permissible sentences.
Trade Dispute – Acts done in contemplation or furtherance of trade dispute. Birmingham City Council (BCC) unsuccessfully applied for an injunction to restrain two trade unions (Unite and UNISON, together, the defendants), which represented members employed by BCC, from calling industrial action over a pay dispute. The Queen's Bench Division held, among other things, that it was more likely than not that the defendants would succeed at the trial of the action in establishing that the protection in s 219 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, concerning an act done by a person in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, would apply. Accordingly, the application for an interim injunction was dismissed.
Criminal procedure – Leave to appeal – Compatibility issue – Sift decision of Sheriff Appeal Court ('SAC') – Petition to nobile officium – Competency. High Court of Justiciary: Refusing the prayer of a petition by a petitioner who was convicted in the sheriff court of sending a grossly offensive and threatening video via a public electronic communications network, who was refused leave to appeal by the SAC at first and second sifts, and who contended that there was a legislative lacuna which required to be filled by using the nobile officium of the High Court to grant (or not grant) permission to appeal from the SAC's sift decision on a compatibility issue directly to the Supreme Court, the court held that the petition was both incompetent and irrelevant: the test for the application of the nobile officium had not been met; an appellate route from summary decisions of the sheriff already existed in statute and the petitioner's attempt to appeal had failed because he did not meet the statutory criteria; the High court had no power to grant leave to appeal from a sift decision of the SAC direct to the Supreme Court.
Judicial review – Judicial review procedure – Permission stage – Oral hearing – Right to fair hearing. Court of Session: Refusing three judicial review petitions in which the petitioners, who had previously lodged petitions for judicial review in which permission was refused on the papers and a request for review at an oral hearing was then also refused, complained that a procedure whereby a petition could be determined adversely to the petitioner by refusal of permission without any oral hearing on the question of permission, and without a right of appeal, was not compatible with their rights to a fair hearing, the court held that the potential absence of an oral hearing and/or appeal were not inconsistent with the petitioners' rights under art 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Financial services – European Union. Article 74(2) of Directive (EC) 2007/64, amending some EU Directives and repealing Directive (EC) 97/5, should be interpreted as meaning that, when a payment order was executed in accordance with the unique identifier provided by the payment service user, which did not correspond to the payee name indicated by that user, the limitation of payment service provider liability, provided for by that article, applied to both the payer's and the payee's payment service provider. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in proceedings concerning the payment of a sum of money to the incorrect payee on account of an incorrect unique identifier provided by the payer.
Easement – Right of way. The respondents had applied to the Land Registry to register a right to use two parking places in the car park of a property, owned by the first appellant company which was adjacent to theirs, together with a right of way necessary to gain access to the parking places. The matter was eventully referred to the First-tier Tribunal (Land Registration Chamber)(the FTT), which held that there was an equitable easement in favour of the respondents. On appeal from the FTT's decision, the Upper Tribunal (Land Chamber) affirmed the FTT's decision on other grounds, deciding that although the judge's decision regarding the existence of an equitable easement could not stand, there was an implied easement in the respondent's favour under the rule in Wheeldon v Burrows[1874-80] All ER Rep 669.
European Union – Trade marks. The First Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office had correctly upheld the appeal by Entertainment One UK Ltd, established in the UK, and a related company against the decision by EUIPO's Cancellation Division to reject that company's declaration of invalidity in relation to a figurative mark 'TOBBIA', registered by the applicant company. The Board had correctly held that there was a likelihood of confusion between that mark and an earlier EU figurative mark 'Peppa Pig'. Accordingly, the General Court of the European Union dismissed the applicant's action for annulment of the Board's decision.
Barrister – Refusal of admission to Bar. In 1986, the appellant was convicted of the murders of ten persons, including the then Prime Minister of Grenada, following a coup on the island. He unsuccessfully appealed against the refusal of the Supreme Court of Grenada and the West Indies Associated States High Court of Justice, as upheld by the Court of Appeal of the Easter Caribbean Supreme Court, to admit him to the Bar of Grenada, under s 17(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act 2011. The Privy Council held that, while the fact that the appellant was currently a man of good standing in the community was a necessary requirement for the good character condition for admission to the Bar of Grenada to be satisfied, it was not, in itself, enough. Public confidence in the profession had also to be considered. Accordingly, the court held that, the Supreme Court judge had not erred in her assessment that there was sufficient risk that public confidence in the legal profession would be damaged by acceding to the appellant's application, because the facet of the good character condition had not been met.
Criminal law – Trial. The defendant court's decision, that the claimant's trial for driving with excess alcohol would go ahead on the date fixed at which the prosecution expert could attend and the defence expert (whose report had been served in good time) could not, had been unsustainable. The Divisional Court, having set out exceptional circumstances in which judicial review might be an appropriate means to challenge a decision as to an adjournment, held that the present was an exceptional case in which the court should intervene at the pre-trial stage.
Company – Director. The Commercial Court held that, among other things, the seventh and eighth defendants had acted in dishonest breach of duty in causing the claimant company to pay more for an oil rig than the price for which it had been sold, and in taking advantage of the cancellation of the purchase agreement, and failing to return sums to the claimant. The existence of sanctions with Iran did not make it contrary to the public interest to enforce the claimant's claim.
Indictment – Joinder of charges. It had been a proper exercise of the judge's discretion to refuse severance of the indictment of charges concerning indecency with young children allegedly committed between 1986 and 1991, and of possession of indecent photographs of a child in 2015. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, in dismissing the defendant's appeal against conviction, held that, where the evidence on one count would be properly admissible on the other as evidence of bad character, it was difficult to argue that the defendant would be prejudiced or embarrassed in his defence by having both counts or sets of counts on the same indictment.
Landlord and tenant – Action for possession. The appellant company's appeal against a decision of the Deputy District Judge succeeded, in a case concerning the repossession of a property of which the respondent was a tenant. The central issue was whether a landlord was precluded by cause of action estoppel from obtaining an order for possession of property by reason of the tenant's non-payment of rent when there was an existing undischarged order for payment of earlier arrears and for possession for non-payment of those arrears. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that, among other things, the causes of action entitling the relevant local authority to an earlier possession order and the appellant to the 2017 order had not been the same or even substantially the same. The proceedings were not barred by cause of action estoppel.
Company – Restoration to register. The applicant company shareholders had not failed in respect of their duty of full and frank disclosure in respect of all material facts when making their application for the restoration of three companies to the Register of Companies. Accordingly, the Chancery Division ruled, among other things, that the respondent liquidators' and company managers' application to set aside the order of restoration would be dismissed.
Elections – Local government. Voter ID pilots for the 2019 local elections were made lawfully for the purpose of allowing proposed changes to local government electoral procedures to be tested by pilot schemes with a view to modernising those electoral procedures in the public interest. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the claimant's application for judicial review, further rejected his contention that the requirement to produce voter ID did not concern 'how' voting was to take place, within s 10(2)(a) of the of the Representation of the People Act 2000, but 'whether' voting could take place at all.
Contract – Implied terms. The contracts formed between the defendant, the Post Office Ltd, and the claimants, (who were mostly sub-postmasters) were relational contracts, such that there had been an implied duty of good faith in the agreement(s) between the parties. It followed that the Post Office had not been entitled to act in a way that would be considered commercially unacceptable by reasonable and honest people. The Queen's Bench Division so ruled, among other things, in respect of a group litigation brought by the claimants, in circumstances where they had been held responsible for alleged shortfalls in their financial accounting with the Post Office, which they contended had been caused by problems with the way the Post Office's computerised system for accounting had operated.
Contract – Formation. The claimant company's claim as formulated for loss of profits, arising from the defendant company's breach of contract in failing to supply machines that could perform in accordance with the quotation and as represented, failed for want of proof. However, the facts, as established by the evidence, had showed that the claimant had suffered some losses caused by the defendant's breach of contract. Accordingly, the Technology and Construction Court allowed the claim in respect of certain alternative grounds and held that the claimant was entitled to damages in the sum of SAR 3,716,769.
European Union – Trade marks. Lighting apparatus for industrial use, on the one hand, and electric lights and decorations, on the other hand, could not be deemed to be similar for the purposes of art 8(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2009, on the basis of the mere fact that they were both 'light sources' or 'electrical lighting apparatus', given that the nature and intended purpose of those goods were different, and that they were neither complementary nor in competition. Accordingly, the General Court of the European Union allowed the action by IQ Group Holdings BhD (IQ), established in the UK, for annulment of the First Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office's decision which had refused protection in the EU for IQ's figurative sign 'Lumiqs' for which IQ had obtained international registration from the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Tax – Value added tax. The appellant company's appeal against a finding that its supplies of education to students in the United Kingdom were not exempt from VAT succeeded. The Supreme Court held that the scope of Note 1(b) of Item 1 of Group 6 of Sch 9 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 was not limited to a college, institution, school or hall of an university which was separate from a university but was nevertheless a part of it in a constitutional or structural sense. The appellant's supplies of education to students in the UK were exempt from VAT because it had been and remained a college of Middlesex University.