“QUOTEWORTHY” 1985

1. “No doubt it is valid if the doctor happens to be treating that happy abstraction, the “prudent patient”, but I suspect that he is a fairly rare bird and I have no doubt that his removal to the courts from his natural habitat, which would, I assume, be a seat or hand rail on the Clapham omnibus, would do nothing for patients or medicine, although it might do a great deal for lawyers and litigation.” per Sir John Donaldson MR in Sidaway v Governor of Bethlem Royal Hospital (CA) [1984] 1 QB 512.

2. “The life of an agent in commerce is a precarious one. He is like the groom who takes a horse to the water-trough. He may get his principal to the negotiating table but when he gets him there he can do nothing to make him sign, any more than the groom can make a horse drink. This has been recognised by the law …” per Lawton LJ in Alpha Trading v Dunnshaw-Patten [1981] QB 290 at 308; [1981] 1 All ER 482; [1981] 1 Lloyds Rep 122; [1981] 2 WLR 169.

3. “There are large groups in present-day society of sincere, earnest but wrong-headed people who, because their convictions are so strong, or because they pretend their convictions are so strong, will stop at nothing in order to impose those views on the community, and this in my opinion, just like hi-jacking, is calculated to become contagious, and if at the first step the Courts do not show that such conduct, however well intended, will not be tolerated in this community, then it is unlikely that such behaviour will be stopped in its tracks.” per Starke J in R v Dixon-Jenkins [1985] VicSC 45, Vic Sup Ct 12 February 1985, dismissing an application for leave to appeal against a conviction and sentence of six years’ imprisonment with a minimum of four years for several counts of threats to damage property, demands with a threat to injure persons and creating a public nuisance.

4. “It must be realized that it is of vital importance that the jurors empanelled in any criminal trial should be allowed to sink back into anonymity at the conclusion of the trial and that any attempt to ascertain their views about the trial or about anything connected with it is thoroughly mischievous. So is any attempt by a juror to volunteer such views for publication. Those who participate in the interviewing of persons said to have been jurors in a particular trial or who report the results of any such interviewing encourage and compound the mischief. If, for instance, it became known that the views expressed by a juror in the jury room were liable to be published many jurors in the course of the jury’s deliberation might be inhibited from expressing their views fully and frankly. Indeed nothing is more likely to bring about the abandonment of the system of trial by jury than intrusion into the secrecy of jury deliberations.” per Full Court (Young CJ, Kaye and Gray JJ) in R v Gallagher [1986] VicRp 25; [1986] VR 219; (1985) 16 A Crim R 215, 7 October 1985.

5. “I only wish, that being the basis of my judgment, to say one word about the meaning of the word “either”. I do not myself quite accept the proposition, however high authority there may be for it, that the word “either”, in its original meaning, was a conjunctive word, or was a word which imported “both”. I think if you have any doubt about the matter you have only to look at other languages, whether ancient or modern, to satisfy yourself that the meaning of the word “either” when used as “both”, as in the example that the Master of the Rolls just gave, “On either side of the road”, is an imported and subsidiary meaning, and not the primary meaning of the word. But I shall assume for the purpose of what I am going to say that the word “either” will equally bear either interpretation. Then one has to see which it means here; and I think it is tolerably safe to say that where a subjunctive clause introduced by the word “either” is followed by a dependent clause, which treats one of the two which are referred to separately from the other, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a single example in which the word “either” has ever been used to import both. I do not wish to say more upon this subject, because it is a question rather of grammar than of law, but merely to point, as an illustration of what I mean, to the well-known passage from the “Beggar’s Opera”:

“How happy could I be with either
Where t’other dear charmer away;
But now you both tease me together,
To neither a word will I say.”

However possible it might be, if you left out the last three lines, to treat the word “either” as meaning both, the real reason why you cannot treat it as meaning both in that sentence is, not only the obvious meaning of Captain Macheath when he used the words, but because it comes within the rule that I have stated that you find in the predicate which is applied to this subject that the two are treated in opposition and separately, and when that is so you ought not in the subject part of the sentence to treat the word “either” as meaning “both”. per Vaughn Williams LJ, in In re Pickworth [1899] 1 Ch 642 at 654.