Tag Archives: A.P. Herbert

Misleading Cases: Reprise

This week on Facebook: It occurs to me in reading the misleading cases of A. P. Herbert that they are as relevant today as at the time they were written. Their context may be somewhat different and certainly society’s views on the freedom the individual are, but the law — far from being less oppressive — insidiously tightens its grip over individual freedoms. Read more of this post

Vulpes alopex

Some four years ago Charles posted on the now defunct My Telegraph website ‘The Boxing Day Hunt – Perfect Entertainment after Christmas Bingeing’ it looked to be an interesting post on a one time favourite rural pastime. Charles wrote:

One of the tedious things about being poor is that one can’t indulge in pastimes like hunting. But one can turn up, as a supporter, and soak up the atmosphere (and maybe a bit of the Port). It really is enormous fun. If you haven’t done it, why not try it this year, on Boxing Day?

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Justice Scalia meets A.P. Herbert

This week on Facebook provides three commentaries on Justice Scalia and two reprises from my posts on A.P. Herbert’s Misleading Cases. I’m hardly qualified to comment on Justice Scalia’s contribution the the defence of the Constitution of the United States, but at least the United States has a codified constitution that it can defend. Justice Scalia always asserted that the American Constitution was not a ‘living document’, a view that resulted in much opposition to his judicial rulings during his tenure as a Supreme Court judge.

Justice Scalia was right to oppose any notion that minority interests could impose constitutional change not in accord with the will of the majority. The United States of America is foremost a republic with a written constitution that requires any changes to be made by due process. Unlike here in the UK where the supremacy of parliament allows for our uncodified constitution to be constantly amended, contrary to the will of the people it is intended to serve. A lack of due process that A.P. Herbert’s protagonist, a Mr Albert Haddock, constantly battled against.

“No man of what estate or condition that he be, shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of the law.” Edward III — Liberty of Subject (Magna Carta 1354)

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Whom the Gods would destroy

 My posts on matter considered obscene, reminded me of the 1930 case when Sir Ethelred Rutt K.C., had the misfortune of appearing before a full Bench of magistrates on behalf of the headmaster (a clergyman) of Eton College. Certain publications had been found at Eton College by a Police Constable Boot in his zealous discharge of a special warrant, whereupon the headmaster was charged under Lord Campbell’s Act, England’s first obscenity statute. The headmaster admitted that the publications kept on the premises were to be ‘sold, distributed, lent, or otherwise published’ – within the meaning of the Act – to the students under his charge, who were from thirteen to nineteen years of age. Read more of this post



AT Windsor to-day, before a full Bench of magistrates, a serious charge was made against the Head Master of Eton, a clergyman, who appeared to feel his position acutely. Police-Constable Boot gave evidence in support of the charge, which was preferred under the – Obscene Publications Act, 1857, commonly known as Lord Campbell’s Act. Read more of this post

A passport and a prerogative to boot.

There is no entitlement to a passport, they are issued by a Minister’s exercise of the Royal prerogative and exercising this Royal prerogative also means that a passport can be withdrawn. There is no statute law governing the grant or refusal of British passports. A Government Minister exercising the Royal prerogative may assume that Rex non potest peccare (the King can do no wrong), yet controversy surrounding the ministerial use of the Royal prerogative continues unabated. Read more of this post

Fish Royal

Pudding Magna; located on Pudding Bay in the county of Dorset, and inhabited by lowly fisher-folk of modest means, is not referred to in any works by Mr. Thomas Hardy. Its obscurity assured had not Sir Ethelred  Rutt K.C. acted on behalf of Pudding Magna’s loyal subjects in a case against The Crown, when, on June 21st 1924, a dead whale was washed up on the shore of Pudding Bay. Being a Fish Royal and belonging to The Crown, Pudding Magna’s loyal subjects extracted the whalebone, the blubber and other valuable and perishable portions from the carcass of the whale, to hold in trust for The Crown. Read more of this post

Tinrib, Rumble, and others v. The Crown

Tinrib, Rumble, and others v. The King and Queen – Fish Royal

(Before Mr. Justice Wool)

In this unusual action, the hearing of which was begun to-day, an interesting point is raised concerning the rights and duties of thc Crown in connexion with a dead whale. Read more of this post

A Citizen’s Arrest

The powers of arrest now exercised by law enforcement officers are not available to members of the public wishing to carry out a citizen’s arrest, which is now a ‘far cry‘ from a ‘hue-and-cry‘.  Anyone participating in a ‘hue-and-cry’ had the right to carry a weapon and to arrest a criminal, whom – should they violently resist – might be killed with impunity, but not otherwise. Lynchings were very rare, and even wounding or killing a criminal to hinder flight was unlawful. Read more of this post

Rex v. Smith

Felony and Misdemeanor

This was an appeal to the High Court upon a case stated by a Metropolitan magistrate.

 The Lord Chief Justice; This is one of the cases in which His Majesty’s judges, through no fault of their own, are unable to do justice and can but gloomily enforce the law and respectfully condemn the Legislature. The appellant, Mr. Smith, was passing peacefully along a London street when he observed a miscreant ripping the tyres of an unattended and stationary motor-car. A man of more than usual courage and determination, Mr. Smith seized the man and succeeded in detaining him by force until a police-constable arrived. The malefactor was duly prosecuted and punished for his offence; but, having, it appears, some knowledge of the law, he issued a counter-summons against Mr. Smith for assault, upon which Mr. Smith was convicted. Against this conviction Mr. Smith has appealed. Read more of this post

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