R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee, ex parte Rossi

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date29 February 1956
Judgment citation (vLex)[1956] EWCA Civ J0229-3
Date29 February 1956
CourtCourt of Appeal
The Queen
Appeals Committee of the County of London Quarter Sessions Ex Parte Rossi

[1956] EWCA Civ J0229-3


Lord Justice Denning

Lord Justice Morris and

Lord Justice Parker

In The Supreme Court of Judicature.

Court of Appeal

MR J.E.S.SIMON, Q.C. and MR NEVILLE VINCENT (instructed by Messrs Good, Good & Co.) appeared as Counsel for the Appellant.

MR MICHAEL PEARSON (instructed by Mr S. Dalton) appeared as Counsel for the Respondent.


on 20th May 1953 Mrs Minors gave birth to a daughter. She was a married woman separated from her husband. On 7th May 1954 she summoned Mr Rossi before the Greenwich Magistrates Court alleging that he was the father of her child.


The case was heard on three days, 31st May 1954 l4th June 1954 and 26th June 1954. Mrs Minors was represented by counsel on all three days. Mr Rossi appeared in person on the first day but he was then granted legal aid and appeared by a solicitor on the last two days. Mrs Minors and Mr Rossi both gave evidence and each side called one witness in support. In the result the Metropolitan Magistrate dismissed the summons.


On 8th July 1954 Mrs Minors gave notice of appeal to the Magistrate's Clerk and to Mr Rossi. On the 6th August 1954 the Clerk of the Peace for the County of London sent registered letters to Mrs Minors and Mr Rossi giving each of them notice that the hearing of the appeal had been fixed for Friday, the 13th day of August 1954 at 10.30 a.m. at the Sessions House. 181 Marylebone Road, N.W.1. Attached to this notice there was a slip sayingz; "If this appeal should not be reached on the day stated in this notice, it will normally be heard at the next available sitting of the Appeal Court, but you should apply to the Clerk of the Peace for advice as to this before leaving the Court.


On the 13th August 1954 Mrs Minors and hor counsel attended the Court of Quarter Sessions. Mr Rossi attended in person but he had no solicitor on this occasion. The case was not heard that day. The reason was because Counsel for Mrs Minors applied for an adjournment. Mr Rossi tsas not in the Court when the application was made and the counsel for Mrs Minors seems to have thought that he was not in attendance. Counsel told the Court: "Rossi, I fancy, has been called, but he is not present, and, I suspect, is not represented and is very unlikely to be here to-day.…. The solicitors who previously acted are not acting at the present time. I am in a difficult position. Witnesses who should have been here have refused to come and there has beenno time to do anything about it, and I would ask your Lordship to grant an adjournment of this matter". The Deputy Chairman said: "When do you want an adjournment to, next week?" Counsel replied: "I think I would ask for it to go over for a longer period than that". The Deputy Chairman said: "So be it", and the case was marked "Adjourned sine die".


Now Counsel for Mrs Minors was an error in thinking that Mr Rossi was not in attendance on that day. He was somewhere in the vicinity of the Court. Later he went up to an official and was informed by him that the case would not be heard on that day. He was not told the date when it would be heard. Indeed, no one could tell him, for the date had not then been fixed.


Five weeks later, on the 21st September 1954, the Clerk of the Peace sent letters by registered post to Mrs Minors and Mr Rossi saying: "I beg to give you notice that the hearing of the above appeal has been fixed for Thursday, the 28th day of September 1954 at 10.30 a.m. at the Sessions House, 181 Marylebone Road, N.W.1". The letter to Mr Rossi was addressed to him at his address, 156 Milton Court Road, New Cross, S.E; but it was never delivered to him. it was returned to the Clerk of the Peace stamped with the words "Undelivered for Reason stated. Return to Sender". The reason was stated in pencil by the postman: "No response to 739 B. 22-9-54". It appears, therefore, that on the 22nd September 1954 the postman called at Mr Rossi's address, but got no reply and was therefore tumble to deliver the letter, and he took it back to the post office to be returned to the sender. The reason why it was not delivered is not far to seek. Mr Rossi says that during this time he was away in Kent doing some fruit picking. It may have been one of the days when he was away.


So the matter stood when on the 28th September 1954 the appeal was in the list for hearing at Quarter Sessions. Mrs Minors and her counsel were present:but Mr Rossi, of course, wasnot present, because he had not had the letter telling him the day. On this occasion Counsel told the Deputy Chairman: "A letter from this Court has been returned marked 'unable to deliver', but I have heard that this man is living at that address and always has been…. so I find myself having to ask your Lordship whether the appeal can proceed in the absence of the Respondent …. There is not the slightest doubt that he knows about the matter. I am In a position formally to prove that". The Deputy Chairman asked: "Why has the letter come back if he is still living there?" Counsel replied: "My evidence is that during the day he is concealing him self, and in the evening goes back to sleep there".


In order to support his statement Counsel called two witnesses, Mrs Minors herself and a Miss Lansdown. Mrs Minors said that she had seen Mr Rossi coming out of 156 Milton Court Road on the previous Friday, 24th September. Miss Lansdown said that she had seen him coming out of the street "last week". They both asserted that he was living at 156 Milton Court Road but going to a lady's flat nearby. Mrs Minors was asked: "Last appeals day, did you hear anything said to him about this appeal?" She answered: "Yes, he was told the case would come up at the end of September". The Deputy Chairman asked her: "Are you sure?" She said: "Yes, he knew it was coming up, because he had spoken to me and said he did not take any notice of it".


After hearing that evidence quarter Sessions decided to hear the case in the absence of Mr Rossi and did so. They heard the evidence of Mrs Minors and a Mr Scott on the first day, and Miss McTigue on the second day. They adjudged Mr Rossi to be the father of the child and ordered him to pay £1 a week for the child and ten guineas costs.


On the 5th October 1954 the order was served on Mr Rossi. He consulted the Cambridge House (Trinity Hall) Legal Advice Centre and eventually applied to the Divisional Court for an order for mandamus and certiorari to bring up the order of quarter Sessions to be quashed. The Divisional Court refused theapplication. The Lord Chief Justice said: "There is no ground for saying that there has been any failure to observe the procedure which is laid dom by law…. The section (of the Appeals Act) does not go on to say that notloe of adjournment is to be given … If he does not choose to make arrangements to receive these notices of proceedings in which he is interested, that is a matter for him. It may be - I am not expressing an opinion about this - he could have gone back to Quarter Sessions and explained his absence. Certainly terms would have been imposed and Sessions might - I am not saying they would - have heard the case; but what 1 am quite certain about Is that this Court cannot grant certiorari … There has been no defect in the procedure".


Mr Rossi appeals to this Court. The case raises questions as to what is proper service on appeals to Quarter Sessions. This is governed by Section 3(1) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Appeals) Act 1933 which says that "the clerk of the peace …. shall in due course give notice to the Appellant, to the other party to the appeal, and to the clerk of the court of summary jurisdiction as to the date, time and place fixed for the hearing of the appeal. A notice required by this sub-section to be given to any person rnay bo sent by post in a registered letter addressed to him at his last or usual place of abode".


There is no doubt that the clerk of the peace gave due notice of the first day for hearing, the 13th August 1954. He sent a letter by registered post to Mr Rossi and he received it. Indeed, Mr Rossi attended that day to answer the appeal. The Lord Chief Justice seems to have thought that that was the only notice that need be given. He thought that so long as notice was given for the first day fixed for the hearing, no notice need be given of the second date. I cannot agree. It is just as important for the defendant to know the date of the adjourned hearing as the date of the original hearing. The word "hearing" in Section 3(1) includes "hearings". Of course when a trial goes on from day to day, it is sufficient for the Chairman at the end of each day toannounce the time of the next sitting of the Court. But when a case is adjourned sine die, it is incumbent an the clerk of the peace to give notice of the adjourned hearing just as he would of the original hearing.


The Clerk of the Peace acted on that footing. He sent a letter by registered post to Mr Rossi telling him the date, time and place of the adjourned hearing. But it was returned to him unopened and undelivered. In those circumstances was the Act complied with? Did the Clerk of the Peace "give notice in due course" to Mr Rossi? It is argued that it is sufficient to comply with Secton 3(1) if he sends a registered letter to the respondent even though it is not received by him, and known not to be received. I do not think this is correct. Wnen construing this section, it Is to be remembered that it is a fundamental principle of our law that no one is to be found guilty or made liable by an order of any tribunal unless he has been given fair notice of the proceedings so as to enable him to appear and defend them. The common law has always been very careful to see that the defendant is fully apprised of the proceedings before it...

To continue reading

Request your trial
133 cases
  • Syed (Curtailment of Leave - Notice) [Upper Tribunal]
    • United Kingdom
    • Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
    • 4 Marzo 2013
    ...See Chapter 37 for further details on enforcement interviews …” 20 The decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Appeal Committee of County of London Quarter Sessions, Ex parte Rossi [1956] 1 All E.R. is helpful not only in confirming that notice in a recorded delivery letter which has been re......
  • Calladine-Smith v Saveorder Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Chancery Division
    • 5 Julio 2011
    ...appeared on this appeal. She took the Judge to Section 7 Interpretation Act 1978 and cited the authority of R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee ex parte Rossi [1956] 1 QB 682. The Claimant's submission was in effect that because the Judge had found that the Claimant did ......
  • Cathrineholm A/S v Norequipment Trading Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 10 Febrero 1972
    ...not to be set aside except on an affidavit of merits. Lord Justice Salmon referred to a dictum of mine in The Queen v. County of London Quarter Sessions Appeal Committee. Ex parte Ross,. 1956 1 Q.B. 694. He said that the law was correctly set out there. It was this. "To sum up, when service......
  • Bishop (Thomas) Ltd v Helmville Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 18 Noviembre 1971
    ...be set aside except on payment of costs and showing of merit. The Plaintiffs rely for this proposition on Regina v. County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee. Ex parte Rossi. (1956) 1 Queen's Bench, 682. In my judgment, that authority decided nothing of the kind, although there i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United Kingdom
    • Wildy Simmonds & Hill Leasehold Enfranchisement Law & Practice Contents
    • 29 Agosto 2014
    ...[2008] EWLands LRX/16/2007, (2008) March 5, Lands Tribunal 135 R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee ex parte Rossi [1956] 1 QB 682, [1956] 2 WLR 800, [1956] 1 All ER 670, CA 46, 108 R v Soneji [2005] UKHL 49, [2006] 1 AC 340, [2005] 3 WLR 303, [2005] 4 All ER 321, HL 43, ......
  • Procedure under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967
    • United Kingdom
    • Wildy Simmonds & Hill Leasehold Enfranchisement Law & Practice Contents
    • 29 Agosto 2014
    ...Ltd v Railtrack [2003] EWCA Civ 1167, [2004] 1 WLR 320. 29 R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee ex parte Rossi [1956] 2 WLR 800. 30 C. A. Webber (Transport) Ltd v Railtrack [2003] EWCA Civ 1167, [2004] 1 WLR 320. the risk that the intended recipient may prove non-service ......
  • Collective Enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform (Housing and Urban Development) Act 1993
    • United Kingdom
    • Wildy Simmonds & Hill Leasehold Enfranchisement Law & Practice Contents
    • 29 Agosto 2014
    ...outside the requisite period or served at the wrong address. 20 R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee, ex parte Rossi [1956] 1 QB 682. 21 R v County of London Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee, ex parte Rossi [1956] 1 QB 682 at 700. 22 Lex Service plc v Johns [1990] 1 EGL......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 1992, December 1992
    • 1 Diciembre 1992
    ...be appropriate in the context of the new section 109Y. 127 Cap. 1 Singapore Statutes, 1985 Revised Edition. 128 [1972] 2 Q.B. 314. 129 [1956] 1 Q.B. 682 at 694. 130 [1972] 1 Q.B. 464. 131 [1972] 2 Q.B. 325. 132 (1988) 13 A.C.L.R. 105. See also Re Gasbourne Pty. Ltd.[1984] V.R. 801; [1984] 8......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT