Coroner Inquest. At an inquest with a jury, the coroner, in summing up, left the verdict of unlawful killing by the claimant to the jury on the basis that they could return that verdict if it was proved to the criminal standard that there was sufficient evidence for a conviction of either manslaughter, causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving. The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. On a judicial review application the Administrative Court, giving guidance to coroners on verdicts of unlawful killing held that the coroner had misdirected the jury by leaving it open to them to return such a verdict.
Solicitor Disciplinary proceedings. The appellant solicitor appealed against an order of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal that he be suspended from practice for 12 months and not be allowed to practice in future as a sole principal or as a partner of a practice, without the prior approval of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. He had admitted a range of breaches of the solicitors code of conduct. He further raised the issue of discrimination. The Administrative Court of the Queen's Bench Division found that the tribunal had not erred in its findings and had not demonstrated any discrimination against the appellant.
Nutting and another (as joint trustees of the estate of Benya Meain Khaliq (a bankrupt)) v Khaliq and another
Bankruptcy Trustee in bankruptcy. A husband was declared bankrupt and, following his successful application to suspend a warrant of possession, costs were ordered out of the estate in bankruptcy in favour of the trustees. The costs were, on appeal, capped at 30% of the trustee's costs of the proceedings relating to the bankrupt's application. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the wife's appeal, holding that as a wholly successful litigant there had been no basis to deprive her of the usual award of costs in her favour. However, the husband's appeal failed as a trustee in bankruptcy was only required to bear costs personally where his conduct had fallen below that of a reasonable insolvency practitioner acting reasonably. As the trustees' conduct had been part reasonable and part unreasonable, they were entitled to a proportion of their costs.
Human rights Right to a fair hearing. The European Court of Human Rights found no violation of art 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights in circumstances where a mother with learning difficulties had been represented by the Official Solicitor in care and placement proceedings in respect of her daughter. It found that, in the circumstances, the very essence of her right of access to a court had not been impaired.
Mental health Persons who lack capacity. The Court of Protection considered whether it was in the patient AC's best interests for her home to be sold. It found that it was not right to sell her home to make up an income shortfall that might be made up in other ways and ordered that the property would not be sold or charged within AC's lifetime without an order of the court.
Solicitor Disciplinary proceedings. The Administrative Court dismissed an appeal by a solicitor against a decision of the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal. The court found that the tribunal had conducted a fair hearing and had made no error of law. The solicitor had been fined 2000 and ordered to pay 10,000 costs in respect of a failure to exercise appropriate supervision of unqualified staff and to ensure that material factors were disclosed to mortgage clients.
Solicitor Negligence. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld a finding that the defendant had not been liable for professional negligence in circumstances where the claimant had settled an action against his former accountants. Further, the judge had not erred in refusing to award the defendant its costs of its unsuccessful counterclaim for outstanding fees.
Trust and trustee Constructive trust. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld a decision that the defendants had been entitled to a declaration that property owned by a deceased had been held on trust for them.
Immigration Detention. The Administrative Court held that, whilst the Secretary of State had conceded that a period of the claimant's detention pending removal from the United Kingdom had been unlawful due to his mental illness, an earlier period had not been unlawful despite the Secretary of State unlawfully failing to consider her own policy in regard to the detaining of those suffering from a serious mental illness because it had been clear that detention should have continued for that period in any event.
Insurance Life insurance. The Chancery Division considered the issue of whether the deceased had been entitled to a joint tenancy of the right under a life policy to benefit from her assumed terminal illness. The court held that, having regard to the majority decision in Murphy v Holland EWCA Civ 1862, the deceased had been entitled to do so.