Sunday, 26 April 2015
Saturday, 25 April 2015
In my book Cases, Causes & Controversies: fifty tales from the law I was critical of some of the undecided issues in the case of Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens  1 AC 1391. I warned that the confusion in the judgment might lead to another case going all the way to the Supreme Court, with a lot of costs incurred as a result. That has now happened, with the Supreme Court recently giving judgment in Jetivia v Bilta  UKSC 23 (Jonathan Sumption QC, now Lord Sumption and a judge of the Supreme Court. One of the dissenting judges in Stone & Rolls was Lord Mance, who was known to have opposed Sumption's appointment to the Supreme Court.
Subject to these points, the time has come in my view for us to hold that the decision in Stone & Rolls should, as Lord Denning MR graphically put it in relation to another case in In re King  Ch 459, 483, be "put on one side and marked 'not to be looked at again'". Without disrespect to the thinking and research that went into the reasoning of the five Law Lords in that case, and although persuasive points and observations may be found from each of the individual opinions, it is not in the interests of the future clarity of the law for it to be treated as authoritative or of assistance save as already indicated."