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Monday, 19 March 2012

Theseus's Bentley in the Court of Appeal

Back in October 2010 (how time flies), before this blog started, the Motor Law newsletter carried a report on a case concerning a Bentley Speed Six which evidently was not what it seemed. It was not quite a case of the chassis plate being the only original part, but it came close: and in particular the engine was not an original Speed Six engine, but a different Bentley unit which had been modified to Speed Six spec.

The trial judge held that the car was, essentially, not a Speed Six. The decision caused consternation in the vintage car market, not surprisingly, for how many cars of that age are there around which are original in sufficient respects not to have a judge hold them to be misdescribed? Indeed, it was a problem for the whole world of antiques - old cars are not the only things that might have replacement bits and pieces on them.

Now the Court of Appeal has overturned that judgment. I'll cover it in the March/April edition of Motor Law but in the meantime here's the story on the Daily Telegraph website, and here's the judgment. The appeal court was pretty critical of the judge's handling of the case: the fact that he issued no fewer than five judgments - four of them different iterations of the trial judgment (the fifth being concerned with  ancillary matters such as leave to appeal).

All these years writing Motor Law, and now blogging too, I have come to love cases like this. They allow a commentary on the law without much risk of the reader getting bored. And this one has delivered twice over.

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