“QUOTEWORTHY” 1983

1. “El Vino’s is no ordinary wine bar, it has became a unique institution in Fleet Street. Every day it is thronged with journalists, solicitors, barristers exchanging the gossip of the day. No doubt it is the source of many false rumours which have dashed the hopes of many an aspirant to a High Court appointment. Now if a man wishes to take a drink in El Vino’s he can drink, if he wishes, by joining the throng which crowds round the bar and there he can join his friends and pick up, no doubt, many an interesting piece of gossip, particularly if he is a journalist. Or, if he wishes, he can go and sit down at one of the two tables that are on the right immediately behind the main door of the premises. Thirdly, if he wishes, he can pass through the partition and enter the little smoking room at the back, which is equipped with a number of tables and chairs. But there is no doubt that very many men choose to stand among the throng drinking at the bar. But if a woman wishes to go to El Vino’s, she is not allowed to join the throng before the bar. She must drink either at one of the two tables on the right of the entrance, or she must pass through the throng and drink in the smoking room at the back. There is no doubt whatever that she is refused facilities that are accorded to men, and the only question that remains is: is she being treated less favourably than men? I think that permits of only one answer: of course she is. She is not being allowed to drink where she may want to drink, namely standing up among the many people gathered in front of the bar. There are many reasons why she may want to do so. Her friends may be there. She may not want to break them up and force them to move to some other part of the premises where she is permitted to drink. Or she may wish, if she is a journalist, to join a group in the hope of picking up the gossip of the day. If male journalists are permitted to do it, why shouldn’t she? If she is denied it she is being treated less favourably than her male colleagues.” per Griffiths LJ in Gill v El Vino’s [1983] QB 425; [1983] 1 All ER 398; [1983] IRLR 206; [1983] 2 WLR 155.

2. “The bureaucratic hand has come down heavily.” Per Toohey J in Dir-Gen of Social Services v Hangan [1982] FCA 262; 70 FLR 212; (1982) 45 ALR 23 at 27; (1982) 11 SSR 115; (1982) 5 ALN N4  where the Director-General successfully appealed against a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal reviewing a decision of the Director-General to recover an overpayment of child endowment of $3370, a decision that affirmed a decision of a departmental officer that had been reviewed by a Social Services Appeal Tribunal.

3. “…I agree that the stone killed what may be described as a second non-professional bird by way of a fortuitous or fortunate consequence; but on the general commissioner’s own findings the expenditure was aimed only at the professional bird.” per Kerr LJ, in Mallalieu v Drummond (1983) 1 WLR 252 at 261 reversing a decision of the Commissioner of Taxation that a female barrister could not deduct the cost of purchasing and laundering her black tights, black shoes, black suits, black dresses and white shirts.

4. “After I became Master of the Rolls in 1962 we launched an attack on this Crown privilege. By good fortune or design the court was composed in three successive cases by the same three of us. My brethren Harman and Salmon L JJ and myself. We were called “The Three Musketeers”. Our attack made good progress. We shot down one certificate after another for some reason or other. We were much helped by some good marksmen from the Commonwealth. But then we suffered a reverse. There came a fourth case. It was Conway v Rimmer (1967) 1 WLR 1031. By chance and not by design the court by that time was differently composed. It was Davies and Russell L JJ and myself. I fought hard. But the other two brought up their reserves. They held that they were bound by Duncan v Cammell, Laird & Co Ltd [1942] UKHL 3; (1942) AC 624; [1942] 1 All ER 587. “The Three Musketeers” were driven back. I was taken prisoner. But then from over the hill there came, most unexpectedly, a relief force. It was the House of Lords themselves. In Conway v Rimmer  [1968] UKHL 2; [1968] AC 910; [1968] 1 All ER 874; [1968] 2 WLR 998 the House declared that they were no longer bound by their previous decisions. They held that the certificate of the Minister was not conclusive. They held that they could themselves examine the documents and see whether the disclosure would be prejudicial to the public interest or not. They overruled the certificate in that case, and ordered production of the documents.” Per Lord Denning MR in Air Canada v Sec of State for Trade [1983] 2 AC 394; [1983] 1 All ER 161; [1983] 2 WLR 494 at 507.

5. “The first question is a pure question of causation; it is one of fact to be decided by the jury in a trial upon indictment. It should be answered “No” if, in relation to the fire during the period starting immediately before its ignition and ending with its extinction, the role of the accused was at no time more than that of a passive bystander. In such a case the subsequent questions to which I shall be turning would not arise. The conduct of the parabolical priest and Levite on the road to Jericho may have been indeed deplorable, but English law has not so far developed to the stage of treating it as criminal; and if it ever were to do so there would be difficulties in defining what should be the limits of the offence.'” per Lord Diplock in R v Miller [1982] UKHL 6; [1983] 2 AC 161; [1983] 1 All ER 978; [1983] 2 WLR 539 at 543; (1983) 77 Cr App R 17; [1983] Crim LR 466; (1983) 2 WLR 539 at 543.

6. “… No doubt a single word can bring down a charge, but does the vagrant adjective “reasonably” have that effect here? “Vagrant” we call it because it has crept unbidden into the charge, without visible means of support, a mischief-maker. At the trial neither counsel noticed it loitering in the summing-up; had they done so, it would no doubt have been expelled by a brief redirection. The word escaped the attention of the learned judge, of counsel and (in our judgment) of the jury. It was, as we have said, without means of support in the form of exposition or illustration, and so unlikely to find a lodging in the jury’s minds.” per Full Court in R v Saragozza [1984] VicRp 15; [1984] VR 187; (1983) 9 A Crim R 185 (5 October 1983, Vic Sup Ct).

7. “Listen instead to this melancholy chronicle: The notice of dispute was followed by a preliminary hearing at which pleadings were directed; and points of claim led to defence and counter-claim, which itself provoked reply and defence. Then the hearing began, two of the pleadings being amended and a schedule of questions being agreed upon. The hearing, which included a view, lasted some six days. As if this was not enough, after the hearing each side resumed the offensive with written arguments, followed by written submissions in reply. The arbitrator rose to the occasion by making an award that ran into 108 pages. That was in August 1981, and that should have been enough. But by now the Juggernaut was quite out of control and it careered into the Practice Court on a motion to set the award aside. The Practice Court could not contain it, so off it went to the Miscellaneous Causes List, where it was reinforced by a summons seeking leave to enforce the reward. A reserved decision followed after a two day hearing, and four days after that decision still more argument was heard. Then an order was made setting aside part of the award and so, by way of remittal, the Juggernaut went rumbling back towards the arbitrator. It has now been deflected into this Court by way of application for leave to appeal. I for one am not in the least disposed to let it go on its way again…” per Brooking J in SMK Cabinets v Hili Modern Electrics Pty Ltd [1984] VicRp 31; [1984] VR 391, 28 September 1983, Vic Sup Ct.

“In my opinion, many thousands of dollars in costs have been needlessly thrown away amounting, in my opinion, to a public scandal.” per Starke J in the case just mentioned.