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Cases - law and justice

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Central London Property v High Trees House [1947] KBD Denning J

Chief Constable of the North Wales Police v Evans [1982] HL

Deen, R v [1994] CA

Glynn v Keele University (1972) QBD

HM Coroner for Inner London West District Ex p. Dallaglio, R v [1994] CA

Leicester City Justices, ex parte Barrow and another, R v

Nicholas Mullen, R v [1999] CA

Nettleship v Weston [1971] CA

Reeves, R v  [1964] CA

Ridge v Baldwin (1964) HL

Schmidt v Secretary of State for Home Affairs [1969] CA

Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p Khan, R v  (1985) CA

Thames Magistrates' Court, ex p Polemis, R v [1974] DC

Central London Property v High Trees House [1947] KBD Denning J

 

 

[Justice – Equity doing justice to soften the common law]
D leased a block of flats in London from C in 1937. When war broke out, many flats were left empty as people were evacuated to escape bombings. C agreed to reduce the rent by half if D stayed. D paid the reduced rent until the end of the war, and C then claimed for the "arrears".

 

Held: Denning J "discovered" the equitable doctrine of promissory estoppel, and said that although C were once again entitled to the rent originally agreed after the war ended, they could not go back on their promise to accept a reduced rent for the earlier years.

 

When a party to a contract makes a promise to the other, which he knows will be acted on, that he will not enforce his strict legal rights; the equitable principle of promissory estoppel makes that promise binding on him until such time as he gives reasonable notice of his intention to resume those rights.

Denning J (obiter dicta) said that had Central London sued for the arrears for the years 1940-45, it would have failed.  It would have been estopped from going back on its promise [as set out in the 1940 agreement] to accept a reduction in rental, even though that promise had not been supported by any consideration from High Trees because to hold otherwise would have been unjust

Also here

 

Chief Constable of the North Wales Police v Evans [1982] HL

[Justice - rules of natural justice - must be allowed to present his case]

D the Chief Constable dismissed C a probationer constable because he had heard largely unfounded rumours about his private life, but D believed them. The rumours included a former "hippy" lifestyle, the keeping of 4 dogs and financial difficulties.

 

Held: The Chief Constable’s decision to force the resignation of the respondent was vitiated by his erroneous assumption that he had an absolute discretion and by his total failure to observe the rules of natural justice in not giving the respondent the opportunity to refute the allegations on which the chief constable relied.
 

C won
Per curiam: Judicial review is not an appeal from a decision but a review of the manner in which the decision was made, and therefore the court is not entitled on an application for judicial review to consider whether the decision itself was fair and reasonable.

Deen, R v [1994] CA

^[Justice - prosecutor's fallacy]
D was convicted of a series of rapes of young women DNA evidence linked him to three rapes.


Held: The first stage in DNA profiling is to achieve a match.
The second stage is the statistical evaluation of the match.
A forensic scientist said there was a match and wrongly said that the possibility of it being somebody else was one in 3 million.
As to the statistical evaluation the chance of anyone other than the defendant matching the profile was 1 in 3 million.
There are two distinct questions.
1. What is the probability that an individual will match the DNA profile?
2. What is the probability that an individual is innocent, given that he matches the DNA profile?
The 'prosecutor's fallacy' consists of giving the answer to the first question as the answer to the second.


Retrial ordered

Glynn v Keele University (1972) QBD

[Justice - rules of natural justice - must be allowed to present his case]

D the University where C was a student.  At the end of term C and others were seen naked.  There was not time before the end of term to do other than send C a letter, fining him £10 and suspending him.

 

Held: D had not complied with the rules of natural justice in that he did not give C a chance of being heard before he reached his decision to inflict a penalty. But as C had suffered no injustice and the punishment was correct, there would be no order.

 

C lost

[Comment] This can be viewed as a rogue decision as it sought to deal with the decision and not what it should, and that was to correct the procedure.

HM Coroner for Inner London West District Ex p. Dallaglio, R v [1994] CA

[Justice - rules of natural justice - decision maker must not allow real possibility of unconscious bias]

During an adjournment of the inquest concerning the sinking of "The Marchioness", the coroner was reported as describing some of the relatives of the deceased as "unhinged" and "mentally unwell."

 

Held: The use of the expressions "unhinged" and "mentally unwell" indicated a real possibility of unconscious bias. The coroner's decision would be quashed and the matter remitted to a different coroner for a fresh decision on whether to resume the inquests.  R v Gough [1993] followed.

Leicester City Justices, ex parte Barrow and another, R v (1991) CA

[Justice - rules of natural justice - must be allowed to present his case - with assistance from "McKenzie Friend"]

DD had not paid the Poll Tax, a solicitor asked that DD be allowed the assistances of a McKenzie Friend, which the magistrates refused.  The case was heard and a liability order made against DD.

 

The Divisional Court dismissed an appeal, DD appealed to the Court of Appeal.

 

Held: In civil proceedings to which the public had a right of access the court, as part of its duty to administer justice fairly and openly, was under a duty to permit a litigant in person to have all reasonable facilities for exercising his right to be heard in his own defence, including quiet and unobtrusive advice from another member of the public accompanying him as an assistant or adviser.

 

D won

Per curiam: The term ‘McKenzie friend’ with its connotations of a certain status and mystique should not be used to describe the assistance provided by another member of the public to a litigant in person in the presentation of his case.

R v Nicholas Mullen [1999] CA

[Justice - supremacy of the Rule of Law]
D was found to be in possession of terrorist bomb equipment, such as used by the IRA. He fled to Zimbabwe but was illegally kidnapped and deported to Britain where he stood trial and was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. The judge said he was a highly dangerous man.

Seven years after his trial he appealed on grounds concerning his deportation from Zimbabwe to England.

Held: Allowing the appeal, that "unsafe" in the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 s. 2 was wide enough to encompass an abuse of process prior to trial.

The methods employed by the authorities to procure M's deportation represented a blatant failure to adhere to the rule of law and the need to discourage such behaviour as a matter of public policy was also an important factor.

Not guilty

Nettleship v Weston [1971] CA

 

Also here

Reeves, R v  [1964] CA

 

Ridge v Baldwin (1964) HL

[Justice - rules of natural justice - must be allowed to present his case]

D the watch committee for the police dismissed C who had been acquitted at Crown Court on charges relating to conspiracy and corruption. The trial judge intimated C had not given professional and moral leadership to other officers.

 
Held: The decision to dismiss C was void because the watch committee had not observed the principles of natural justice.

C had not been charged nor informed of the grounds on which they proposed to proceed and had not been given a proper opportunity to present his defence.

 

C won

Schmidt v Secretary of State for Home Affairs [1969] CA

[Justice - judicial review - legitimate expectation - Lord Denning Obiter]

CC were given leave to land in the United Kingdom for the purpose of attending education in scientology. The British Government, having been convinced that scientology was socially harmful, rejected their applications for extension of their stay in this country.

 

Held:  The Home Secretary had power under the Aliens Order 1953 to refuse aliens permission to land or to extend their time of stay and he had acted in the interest of society.

 

There being no right of entry or extension of stay, questions of interference with rights and of the applicability of rules of natural justice did not arise, because his act was administrative.

 

Obiter, per Lord Denning MR: The Home Secretary should, in exceptional circumstances, listen to reason as to why he should not apply a certain policy.

 

C lost

Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p Khan, R v  (1985) CA

[Justice - judicial review - legitimate expectation]

A and his wife, both Pakistani nationals wanted to adopt a child, aged 5 1/2, born in Pakistan of a close relative.

A sought advice and was handed a letter issued by the Home Office which declared the legal position.

A commenced the necessary procedures along the lines indicated by the letter for such cases. Owing to an administrative muddle the entry application for the child was refused.

 

Held: By sending the circular letter the Secretary of State had effectively made his own rules. The categories of unreasonableness were not closed and an unfair action would seldom be a reasonable one. The Secretary of State had misdirected himself according to his own criteria and had acted unreasonably.

 

A won

Thames Magistrates' Court, ex p Polemis, R v [1974] DC
 

[Justice - rules of natural justice - D must be allowed to present his case, this includes time to prepare his case]

D, a Greek see captain was alleged to have allow oil to spill into London Docks.  He was served with a summons at 10.30 am he was due to sail at 9.00 pm the same day. At 4pm his case was heard, he was convicted and fined £5,000. D applied to the High Court for a quashing order (certiorari) to quash the conviction.

 

Held: Certiorari granted because it was a requirement of the rules of natural justice that a party to proceedings, and particularly defendant in a criminal case, should be given a reasonable opportunity to present his case, and that included a reasonable opportunity to prepare his case before being called on to present it.

 

Per curiam: When the court cannot conduct a trial in accordance with the rules of natural justice in the time available before defendant’s ship sails, the court should ensure that some sensible provision is made for security for the appropriate penalty in the event of a conviction, bearing in mind that, in the absence of security being offered, the court has power, as a last resort, to remand defendant in custody.

 

 

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