Criminal law Trial. The defendant was convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon (an imitation gun that was readily convertible into a firearm) and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. The defendant appealed on the basis that the imposition of a legal (persuasive) burden on him had involved derogation from the presumption of innocence. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, held that the derogation was justified as necessary, reasonable and proportionate. It further held that there was no arguable basis for challenging the sentence.
Family provision Person who immediately before deceased's death was being maintained by deceased. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld a judge's award made under the awarding the first claimant virtually the whole of what the judge understood to be the English assets of the deceased estate, since the judge had not erred in principle and had carried out an exercise to provide for the reasonable maintenance of the first claimant.
Coroner Inquest. The Administrative Court of the Queen's Bench Division considered an appeal brought by the claimant local authority regarding the death of EB, a troubled 14-year old. The coroner had decided to hold the inquiry into EB's death under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and had ruled that a jury inquiry was required. The Court held that although the coroner had been entitled to hold the inquest with a jury, it had erred in finding that an inquiry under art 2 was necessary.
Mental health Patient. The Court of Protection considered whether it was in the best interests of the patient, K, to undergo treatment for uterine cancer for which she lacked the capacity to consent. There was a considerable risk that due to other co-morbidities and other factors she would die during the surgery. However, the court declared that it would be lawful for the surgery to go ahead.
Rectification Mistake. The instant case concerned a pension scheme known as the IBM Pension Plan (the main plan), which was originally established in 1957.The claimant trust company, the trustee of the plan, sought an order rectifying a deed of amendment, which created, amongst other things, the C Plan. The principal question was whether, in creating the C Plan as a new section of the main plan in 1983, it was intended to be on terms that members of the C Plan would have a right to retire on an unreduced pension at any age between 60 and 63 without any employer consent. The Chancery Division answered in the affirmative.
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.
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.
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.