the reduced law dictionary (extracts)

the law in snippets of 101 words

by Roderick Ramage, solicitor,

first published in New Law Journal (
on 15 July 2015

previous extracts have been published in NLJ since 2008

a collection, snippets 1 to 101, was published in November 2010 by Etica Press Ltd, price £9.99 + p&p, ISBN 9 781905 633104 and on Kindle from, price £1.54, ISBN 13:978 1 905633 13 5
book review   where to buy it


These snippets are not advice to any person (or at all) and may not be taken as a definitive statement of the law in general or in any particular case. The author does not accept any responsibility for anything that any person does or does not do as a result of reading any of them, but does hope that at least some of them will raise a smile.



The referendum is merely informative of the supposed will of the country.  Given the politician’s lies and the geographical skewing of the vote, is it even democratic?  Neither the European Union Referendum Act 2015 nor the Political … Referendums Act 2000 give legal effect to referendums.  The immediate political issue is whether the PM may exercise the prerogative to invoke article 50 without the consent of parliament.  The next is whether, on taking office, she should throw away our strongest card by invoking article 50 before agreeing terms. I voted for out, not stupidity.  Anyone for passport controls round the M25?



four corners

In Gwyn v Neath Canal (1868) Chief Baron Kelly said: "The result of all the authorities is, that when a court of law can clearly collect from the language within the four corners of a deed, or instrument in writing, the real intentions of the parties, they are bound to give effect to it by supplying anything necessarily to be inferred from the terms used, and by rejecting as superfluous whatever is repugnant to the intention so discerned".

Channell B : “The right course is not to reform or correct the instrument but to construe it by the light of the recitals”.



passing off by domain name Ltd registered the domain names,, and, and RBS, which owned the relevant trademarks, filed a complaint to the Word Intellectual Property Organization, whose domain name dispute resolution panel concluded that Yoyo had registered the domain names in bad faith and ordered that they be transferred to RBS.  In Yoyo v RBS (2015) the court held it had no jurisdiction as a appeal body from such decision and affirmed the decision in British Telecom v One in a Million (1999).  Simply registering a distinctive domain name is a misrepresentation of connection with the goodwill in the name.



oral variation in writing

Globe v TRW Lucas (2016) concerns a dispute about the supply of electric motors for assisted steering systems for motor cars.  The CA held (obiter) that a clause in the supply contract requiring amendments to be made in writing signed by both parties did not prevent them from varying it by a new contract, oral or by conduct.  The CA’s decision in United Bank v Asif (2000) would have supported the clause, but World Online v I-Way (2002) would not.  The CA was not bound by either of its prior inconsistent decisions: the first exception in Young v Bristol Aeroplane (1944).



splashing pedestrians

The RTA 1988 s3 makes it an offence to drive on a road without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, and by s3ZA(4) a person is to be regarded as driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by his driving.  An example in the CPS’ guidance on driving incidents is “driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed”.  A driver prosecuted for overtaking traffic on a motorway’s inside lane was acquitted because he had caused no actual inconvenience: Dilks v Nowman-Shaw (1981).  How big a splash causes inconvenience remains to be tested.



unilluminated speed sign

Mr Butler was charged with driving in excess of a 40 mph speed limit.  His defence was that the terminal speed limit sign did not comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.  The regulations require such a sign within fifty yards of a street lamp illuminated by electricity to be illuminated.  The magistrates found that he had driven 46 mph, it was dark and the sign was not illuminated and acquitted him.  On appeal, in DPP v Butler (2010), the court held that the magistrates were entitled to find that the sign did not comply with the regulation.



whistleblowing gone wrong

Three nurses made protected disclosures about a colleague, who made false statements about his experience and qualifications.  Other staff thought that the three were conducting a witch hunt and subjected them offensive behaviour.  NHS Manchester transferred the three to other employment; and they complained to an ET under the ERA 1996 s47B, saying that they had suffered detriments as a result of making protected disclosures.  In Fecitt v NHS Manchester, (2011) the CA held that they had not been victimised by NHS Manchester, it was not unlawful for other employees to victimise whistle-blowers and that NHS Manchester was not vicariously liable.




copyright Roderick Ramage

click below to

return to home page