A Lady becomes a Lord: Barbara Hale is appointed the first woman member of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords

Friday 24 October 2003 at 8:36 pm | In News | Post Comment

Lady Hale will become the first female Law Lord
Dame Brenda Hale, 58, (a Lady Justice of Appeal since 1999) will become one of 12 Lord Laws.

Although known as Law Lords, Dame Brenda will be known as Lady Hale.

She will earn £175,055-a-year when she starts in January.

The most senior female judge in England and Wales was Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, president of the High Court’s Family Division.

The House of Lords still remains unrepresentative Dame Brenda will be the only woman among the twelve top judges and there are no black or minority ethnic judges.

Caldwell Recklessness abandoned by the House of Lords.

Saturday 18 October 2003 at 6:50 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v G and another (2003)HL (R v Gemmell and Richards) DD aged 11 and 12 went camping without their parents approval. They went to the back of the Co-op in Newport Pagnell, lit some newspapers which set fire to a wheelie-bin which set fire to the shop, cause £1m of damage. They were convicted of arson by a jury. Both the judge and jury appear to have been not content with applying the objective approach that the law required in R v Caldwell (1982) HL. Held: Unanimously, Caldwell was wrongly decided, the test of recklessness was found in the preparatory work of the Law Commission prior to the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The test now is: “A person acts recklessly within the meaning of section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 with respect to – (i) a circumstance when he is aware of a risk that it exists or will exist; (ii) a result when he is aware of a risk that it will occur; and it is, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable to take the risk.” (Based on clause 18(c) of the Criminal Code Bill annexed by the Law Commission to its Report “A Criminal Code for England and Wales Volume 1: Report and Draft Criminal Code Bill” (Law Com No 177, April 1989)) Not guilty of arson (criminal damage by fire) Whole case, here.

Not Gross Negligence Manslaughter

Wednesday 15 October 2003 at 9:32 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v Wood & Hodgson (2003)Crown Court
DD the householders where a ten-year-old girl used to go round to play with their baby and to watch videos. On one visit she found ecstasy tablets in a cigarette packet and ate some of them (?5). She was obviously ill but DD did not call an ambulance for about 1½ hours. V died.
Held: DD were acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter in allowing V to get hold of the tablets, the jury obviously thought that DD had taken care to hide them from her, and so were not grossly negligent.

“Biological GBH”?

Wednesday 15 October 2003 at 9:16 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v Dica (2003) Crown Court
D infected two women with HIV. Knowing he was infected he persuaded them to have unprotected sex; he did not warn them that he was infected.
Held: Guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

Note: Clarence (1888.) is now doubted. However, this case is to be appealed.
News report, here

Negligence – duty of care – school not liable when boy falls off swing

Monday 13 October 2003 at 9:48 pm | In News | Post Comment

Simonds v Isle of Wight Council (2003)QBD
Playing fields could not be made free of all hazards and because a school had diagnosed a hazard did not mean it was duty bound to take further steps to make access or use impossible.
The issue in this case was “causation”.

A five year old was told him to return to his teachers after lunch with his mum during a sports day. He went to play on swings and broke his arm.
Held: The school had been responsible for him all day and that the mother’s acts or omissions had not broken the chain of causation. However, this was simply an accident which had not disclosed any causative fault. The school had had a good plan for dealing with the swings; no one other than the claimant had played on them. Balancing the element of risk, it was not reasonable to impose a legal duty on a school to immobilise the swings any more than it would be to rope off a tree on the field. Playing fields could not be made free of all hazard. Furthermore, since the boy’s mother had not redelivered him back to the care of the school, there was no breach of any duty by the school.

Getting it wrong can be expensive

Friday 3 October 2003 at 9:31 pm | In News | Post Comment

Tort – damages – quantum
Batchelor v Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon Health Authority.

30 September 2003.
Baby suffered brain damage by suffocating during birth. The mother’s labour had to be induced, and during the birth negligent medical staff failed to realise the claimant’s mother was experiencing difficulties. As a result of the suffocation the claimant now suffers from cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties and epilepsy.
The hospital admitted liability and agreed to pay a settlement of £3,400,000.

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