Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that a judge had erred in granting a father less restrictive and unsupervised contact with his daughter in circumstances where the judge had recognised that a psychological risk assessment had been required of the father in order to assess any potential risks to the child of him having unsupervised contact.
Water and watercourses Flooding. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing the appeal of the Environment Agency, upheld a finding that it failed properly to interpret, apply or have regard to its own policy when it classified sluices on the Manchester Ship Canal as 'formal' flood defences on the ground that their 'primary' purpose was flood prevention, with the effect that land, which was owned and proposed for development by the claimants, had been at a higher risk of flooding. The sluices were an integral part of the canal, serving a dual purpose of providing flood defences and navigational purposes for the canal, but the defendant had not been entitled, applying its own policies which distinguished between 'primary' purposes and 'secondary' purposes of flood defences, to find that, by having a dual purpose, the sluices had had dual 'primary' purposes.
Local Government Council tax. In February 2012, the Valuation Tribunal determined that the appellants were responsible for council tax in respect of a property in relation to which they were the registered owners. The respondent's case was that the premises were in multiple occupation and that council tax was payable by the registered owners. The appellants' case was that, throughout the relevant period, the whole of the premises were let to bona fide tenants and accordingly it was those tenants who were responsible for council tax. The appellants relied upon documentation including copies of tenancy agreements. The respondent relied on evidence which cast doubt upon the genuineness of the tenancy agreements. The tribunal concluded that, during the period, the premises were in multiple occupation and that accordingly, the appellants were responsible for paying the council tax due for the period. The appellants appealed. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that tribunal had been entitled to conclude that it was not satisfied that the agreements were genuine in the face of the evidence which tended to prove the contrary.
Housing Homeless persons. The claimant had applied for housing assistance from the defendant local authority. He had learning difficulties, so his brother assisted him with day-to-day tasks. His brother would have applied for housing assistance also, but was ineligible due to his immigration status at that time. The authority decided that the claimant was eligible for housing assistance and was unintentionally homeless, but he was not in priority need under s189(1)(c) of the because he received assistance from his brother and, in a homeless situation, he would not suffer injury or detriment or be less able to fend for himself than would the ordinary street homeless person. The claimant's appeal to the county court was dismissed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, also dismissed the appeal on the ground that the judge had made no error of law. In interpreting the provision of s189(1) of the Act, consideration was given to R v Camden London Borough, ex p Pereira ((1998) 31 HLR 317) and to Osmani v Camden London Borough Council ().
Road Traffic Offence. Following a collision on the M1 motorway, the appellant provided a positive roadside breath test and was taken to the police station where he was unable to provide a second breath test. He was asked to provide a specimen of blood which, on analysis, was found to contain over the legal limit of alcohol and was subsequently convicted of drink driving. The district judge concluded that it had been a reasonable inference by the police from the evidence that the appellant had not been able to provide a breath test due to the accident, that that could amount to a medical reason and that the police had had reasonable cause to believe that. Accordingly, the police had been entitled to require a specimen of blood or urine. The appellant appealed by way of case stated against his conviction. The Divisional Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that, on the evidence, the inference drawn by the district judge that the police officer had had reasonable cause to believe that the appellant's inability to provide a specimen had been for a medical reason had been one open to him.
Adoption Order. The Family Division dismissed an application for leave to adopt made by a child's aunt and uncle. The application had been launched against a background of two unsuccessful applications for leave to remain outside the Immigration Rules. The child's parents were in Pakistan and the child had only lived with the applicants for six months as at the date of the application. The court held that there was a mass of material pointing in divergent directions which gave the court every reason to doubt the applicants' integrity and indeed the authenticity of the application. Further, even if the many matters which cast doubt upon the good faith and integrity of the applicants were left to one side, it was impossible to conclude that an adoption order would be in the child's best interests.
Landlord and tenant Eviction. The claimant had been a secure tenant of the local authority. While the claimant was on an extended holiday, the authority (which did not know of his absence) took possession of his flat and arranged to install a new tenant. The claimant issued proceedings seeking the payment of statutory damages for the loss of his right to occupy the flat. The judge ordered 90,500 damages be paid on the basis that it had to be assumed that the tenant's rights were for all purposes to be deemed to be those of a secure tenant, even after a hypothetical sale to a private landlord. The authority appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal, holding that the claimant's rights of occupation had, from the very grant of his secure tenancy, been vulnerable to being downgraded upon a sale by the authority to a private landlord and that downgrade could be taken into account in valuing a property for the purpose of s28 of the .
Health and safety at work Employer's duties. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the defendant Chief Constable's appeals on liability and costs in respect of a claim brought by a police officer who had been injured at work. The officer had been clearing a cannabis factory when she had cut her thumb attempting to open a window. The court held, inter alia, that the court below had not erred in concluding that the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 had been engaged and found that there had been a duty to provide thick gloves to protect against a risk which had been more than de minimis.
Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. The parents had taken their young son, W, to hospital where it was discovered that he had a number of serious injuries. The local authority obtained a care order in respect of W and the parents appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the parents' appeal on the basis that there was no basis for attacking the judge's factual findings.
Sentence Imprisonment. The defendant had been sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving contrary to s2B of the . He appealed against the sentence imposed contending that the judge had imposed a manifestly excessive sentence by failing to apply the death by driving sentencing council guidelines and failing to take into significant account the mitigating features of the offence. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division dismissed the appeal after concluding that the judge had taken all relevant factors into consideration when sentencing and had thus not imposed a manifestly excessive sentence.