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attorney general v blake judgement

When the circumstances require, damages are measured by reference to the benefit obtained by the wrongdoer. On 16 August 1944 Blake signed an Official Secrets Act declaration. This is a difficult decision. If applicable they would have given the Crown the private law remedy they sought, an order for the taking of an account and the payment over of the sums found due. He delivered the manuscript by the end of that year and the book was published in September 1990. The court's refusal to grant an injunction means that in practice the defendant is thereby permitted to perpetuate the wrongful state of affairs he has brought about. But in this case there is a complication. The same principle is applied where the wrong consists of use of another's land for depositing waste, or by using a path across the land or using passages in an underground mine. The size of the royalty was attributable to his notoriety as an infamous spy. Whether term regarding director’s vacating office could be implied into company articles. I am not at present willing to endorse the broad observations of the Court of Appeal. It would be difficult, and unwise, to attempt to be more specific. In all these cases rights of property were infringed. The case involved exceptional facts. either of price or of hire.' That is axiomatic. By way of contrast, over the last 20 years there has been no lack of academic writing. Thirdly, the decision of the Court of Appeal is, in any event, an order with confiscatory effect. Scott V-C dismissed the action. It was not necessary that they had been frustrated entirely. If confidential information is wrongfully divulged in breach of a non-disclosure agreement, it would be nothing short of sophistry to say that an account of profits may be ordered in respect of the equitable wrong but not in respect of the breach of contract which governs the relationship between the parties. The pool was not of that depth. court for decision, although there was some discussion of Wrotham Park in Attorney General v Blake [2001] 1 AC 268. 518. The court always had a discretion regarding the grant of the remedy of an account of profits, and this remains the position. The fourth appellant said a national party should embrace all the tribes of Zambia otherwise she should not join. Mrs. Justice Natalie Hart-Hines (Ag) 02.07.2020: 2015HCV05030 : Neil, George v The Attorney General of Jamaica, Office of the Utilities Regulation and Spectrum Management Authority: The Hon. When he joined the Secret Intelligence Service Blake expressly agreed in writing that he would not disclose official information, during or after his service, in book form or otherwise. However, the Court of Appeal permitted the Attorney General to amend his statement of claim and advance a public law claim. A local authority had sold surplus land to a developer and obtained a covenant that the developer would develop the land in accordance with an existing planning permission. Neither the subject nor the opinions of my noble and learned friends Lord Nicholls and Lord Steyn could be done justice in many fewer pages than their opinions will occupy. In making this claim the Attorney General asserted, not a private law right on behalf of the Crown, but a claim for relief in his capacity as guardian of the public interest. This analysis is correct. Undermining the willingness of prospective informers to co-operate with the services, or undermining the morale and trust between members of the services when engaged on secret and dangerous operations, would jeopardise the effectiveness of the service. The claim is for all the profits of Blake's book which the publisher has not yet paid him. If the relationship had been a commercial one it is probable that by 1989 the undertaking would be regarded as spent or no longer enforcible, but if still enforcible the breach of it would have supported compensatory damages on the 'compulsory purchase' basis. This approach has been adopted on many occasions. Your Lordships consider that this policy can be given effect to without a departure from principle. The innocent party could suppose that the wrongful sale had been made with his consent and bring an action for money 'had and received to his use': see Lamine v. Dorrell (1701) 2 Ld. Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellant. The public law claim is founded on the premise that the royalties belong to Blake. It has attracted criticism from academic commentators and also in judgments of Sir Thomas Bingham M.R. This is an example of compensatory damages. A non-damaging disclosure by a member of the security and intelligence services is criminal, but the identical non-damaging disclosure by a Crown servant is not. The second would cover the present case. By 1989 the information in the book was no longer confidential, nor was its disclosure damaging to the public interest. I do not think these fears are well founded. I wish to pay tribute to the thoroughness with which counsel and solicitors prepared the appeal and the expertise with which Mr. Clayton presented it to your Lordships. As Lord Woolf noted, the Attorney General stands in an altogether different legal and constitutional position. This sentence reflected the extreme gravity of the harm brought about by his betrayal of secret information. . Attorney General v Blake [2001] 1 AC 268 is a leading English contract law case on damages for breach of contract. These cases would have assisted the Crown had they succeeded on the facts before Scott V-C. He was employed as a member of the security and intelligence services for 17 years, from 1944 to 1961. Syllabus. It will be convenient to consider this private law claim first. Attorney General v Blake [2001] 1 AC 268 is a leading English contract law case on damages for breach of contract. A trespasser who enters another's land may cause the landowner no financial loss. Photo Production Ltd. v Securicor Transport Ltd. Att-Gen v De Keyser's Royal Hotel Ltd.[1920] AC 508) The Crown accepted that it could not realistically say that it would ever be in a position to invoke the statutory powers. There was no longer anything which was confidential or which would damage the public interest; he no longer had any fiduciary relationship to the Crown. But this claim could not be sustained on the facts. The purpose was that the developer would have to apply and pay for a relaxation of the covenant if it wanted to build more houses. 121, it is not clear why it should be any more permissible to expropriate personal rights than it is permissible to expropriate property rights. 39. The Attorney-General had four grounds of appeal, three of which related to procedural elements of the judicial review and one to the question of the … Introduction. It was not necessary that they had been frustrated entirely. The contractual right in Reid-Newfoundland Co. v. Anglo-American Telegraph Co. Ltd. [1912] AC 555 was held to have created a trust. But it potentially has wide application. Daraydan Holdings Ltd v Solland International Ltd [2004] 3 W.L.R. In practice, these specific remedies go a long way towards providing suitable protection for innocent parties who will suffer loss from breaches of contract which are not adequately remediable by an award of damages. The undertaking, if not a fiduciary obligation, was closely akin to a fiduciary obligation, where an account of profits is a standard remedy in the event of breach. Though Edusei v Attorney-General [1996-97] SCGLR 1 held that the cumulative effect of articles 33(1), 130(1) and 140(2) was to vest the High Court, as a court of first instance, with an exclusive jurisdiction in the enforcement of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in It is equally well established that an award of damages, assessed by reference to financial loss, is not always 'adequate' as a remedy for a breach of contract. The Crown appealed. LORD STEYN My Lords, In law classification is important. The terminology is however less important than the substance: under consideration are claims for the disgorgement of profits against a contract breaker. The book, entitled No Other Choice, was published on 17 September 1990. Mr. Clayton submitted that section 1(1) is drawn too widely and infringes article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Though Edusei v Attorney-General [1996-97] SCGLR 1 held that the cumulative effect of articles 33(1), 130(1) and 140(2) was to vest the High Court, as a court of first instance, with an exclusive jurisdiction in the enforcement of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in None of the information was classified, but an agent's violation of his non-disclosure obligation impaired the agency's ability to function properly. On the one hand, there is no or virtually no support for a general action for disgorgement of profits made by a contract breaker by reason of his breach. To him the loss may be as important as financially measurable loss, or more so. Separate reasons for judgment of each member of the Court, each concurring as to the order made ORDER: Appeal dismissed. The fourth appellant said a national party should embrace all the tribes of Zambia otherwise she should not join. Attorney General, Mr. Hausner, and his assistants, Dr. Robinson, Mr. Bar-Or, Mr. Bach, and Mr. Terlo, who helped in the conduct of the case, carried an enormous burden on their shoulders, and displayed absolute mastery of the huge amount of legal and factual material … This being the case, one must look elsewhere for the event which will decide what is to happen to the money thus frozen in Jonathan Cape's hands. I agree with it and for the reasons which he gives I would dismiss this appeal but vary the order of the Court of Appeal to declare that the Attorney-General is entitled to be paid a sum equal to whatever amount is due and owing to Blake from Jonathan Cape under the publishing agreement of 4 May 1989. In the present case Blake's disclosure of the information in his autobiography to his publishers was a breach of section 1(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1989: If Blake's disclosure occurred before this Act came into force on 1 March 1990, the disclosure was an offence under comparable provisions in section 2(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1911. Blake also cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of District of Columbia v Heller from 2008, which upheld an individual's right to guns for lawful purposes. Its appeal failed but before it was dismissed a new line was adopted with the encouragement of the court and leave to amend was given. Contract law damages are not a matter of discretion. Sir Guenter Treitel, Q.C., The Law of Contract, 10th ed., (1999) p. 868-869, has questioned the soundness of the observations of the Court of Appeal: see also the valuable comment by Janet O'Sullivan, "Reflections on the role of restitutionary damages to protect contractual expectations" (to be published) and Hanoch Dagan, "Restitutionary Damages for Breach of Contract: An Exercise in Private Law Theory, Theoretical Inquiries in Law," January 2000 Vol. The private law claim In the course of his judgment Lord Woolf made some interesting observations, at [1998] Ch 439, 455G to 459D, on a matter which had not been the subject of argument either in the Court of Appeal or before the Vice-Chancellor. The reason why in May 1991 these proceedings were started was because the Crown had learnt of the size of the advance royalty which Jonathan Cape had agreed to pay Blake. Likewise, the court will compel the observance of negative obligations by granting injunctions. Between 1951 and 1960, he disclosed valuable secrets to foreign agents. Courts of equity went further than the common law courts. In making this claim the Attorney General asserted, not a private law right on behalf of the Crown, but a claim for relief in his capacity as guardian of the public interest. Then, again, there are the rights now grouped under the heading of the law of restitution or unjust enrichment. This is the foundation of the court's jurisdiction to grant the remedies of specific performance and injunction. Attorney General v Blake [2000] UKHL 45, [2001] 1 AC 268 is a leading English contract law case on damages for breach of contract. The Vice-Chancellor rejected this claim and dismissed the action: see [1997] Ch. The broad proposition that a wrongdoer should not be allowed to profit from his wrong has an obvious attraction. He is still there, a fugitive from justice. The Court of Appeal expressed the view, necessarily tentative in the circumstances, that the law of contract would be seriously defective if the court were unable to award restitutionary damages for breach of contract. The court will, for instance, readily make orders for the specific performance of contracts for the sale of land, and sometimes it will do so in respect of contracts for the sale of goods. The Vice-Chancellor accepted that former members of the intelligence and security services owed a lifelong duty of non-disclosure in respect of secret and confidential information. 130 of 2000 the question of jurisdiction of the Lands Tribunal cropped up again. If Blake's disclosure occurred before this Act came into force on 1 March 1990, the disclosure was an offence under comparable provisions in section 2(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1911. That is a remedy based on proprietary principles when the necessary proprietary rights are absent. Section 1(1) criminalises disclosure of information when no damage results. In that case, the House of Lords recognised that an account and disgorgement of profits could be awarded for a breach of contract. The proceedings On 24 May 1991 the Attorney General commenced an action against Blake, with a view to ensuring he should not enjoy any further financial fruits from his treachery. Jonathan Cape agreed to pay him advances against royalties: £50,000 on signing the contract, a further £50,000 on delivery of the manuscript, and another £50,000 on publication. Damages are measured by the plaintiff's loss, not the defendant's gain. Click here to remove this judgment from your profile. The other point is that where a court declines to grant an injunction it may award damages in lieu. In 1989 he wrote his autobiography. Lord Cairns' Act had a further effect. The Crown thought that it was wrong that he should be allowed to enjoy the substantial sum which resulted from the publication of the book. This does not alter the principles which are applicable nor does it provide the Crown with a remedy in the present case; but it is relevant to the understanding of the authorities. But in a minority of cases the error does matter and cases of the breach of negative promises typically illustrate this category. The Crown has no right to an injunction to stop the payment of the royalty to Blake and procure its payment to the Crown instead. If the information was still confidential, Blake would in my view have been liable as a fiduciary. Therefore the trial judge s interpretation and conclusions that they became members of the national party on the authority of the Attorney General v Marcus Kachiume (8) and DPP v … National Recovery Limited v Attorney General of Jamaica: The Hon. © 2000 Crown Copyright. This matter was pursued in your Lordships' House. The money he was paid by the smugglers was held to be money for which he must account to his employer in the same way as if he had received a bribe: see per Asquith LJ in the Court of Appeal. The House of Lords held that damages should be assessed on the footing of a royalty for every infringing article. In reaching his conclusion the judge applied by analogy the cases mentioned above concerning the assessment of damages when a defendant has invaded another's property rights but without diminishing the value of the property. My conclusion is that there seems to be no reason, in principle, why the court must in all circumstances rule out an account of profits as a remedy for breach of contract. 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