Topic: LEGAL METHOD
Read through the extract from Secretary of State for Works and Pensions v Dole 1
and answer the following questions:
- What were the material facts in the case?
- Explain, in your own words, the legal issue(s) in the case.
- Which technique(s) of statutory interpretation, presumptions and/or ‘rules
of language’ did Ward L.J. employ in the case? Evidence your answer by
reference to relevant dicta in the case.
- Explain, in your own words, the ratio decidendi of Secretary of State for
Works and Pensions v Dole .
Word limit: There is no word limit for Part A of the assessment. However,
your answers should be as concise, precise and accurate as possible
without being repetitive (see criteria below). The questions in Part A are
not equally weighted.
Refer to your Course Handbook for penalties imposed for late submission.
Your coursework must be submitted in hard copy before the deadline. E-mails or
faxes will not be accepted. It is strongly recommended that you submit your
Court of Appeal (Civil Division)Legal Method
Assessed Coursework 2012-13
Page 2 of 17
coursework well in advance of the deadline. Long queues may build up as the
Important notice: When answering questions relating to the material facts,
legal issue and ratio decidendi of the case, you MUST confine your reading
to the case extract provided. If it is apparent that you have referred to
extraneous material relating to the reported decision such as law reports,
case summaries, textbook or other similar material, this will be reflected
negatively in your mark.
Assessment criteria for Part A
Your answers should:
- Be clear, concise and accurate
- Not be repetitive
- Contain only relevant information
- Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the case
- Demonstrate an understanding of techniques and aids to statutory
You are required to carry out the task outlined above. The examiner will mark your
work according to your ability to follow the instructions and satisfy the assessment citeria
Please read the following scenario and answer all the questions below
with respect to it.
NOTE: The % allocated to each question is not prescriptive – it is merely a
guide as to the weight to be attached to the question when marking your
coursework against the generic grade descriptors.
Brian is happy to call himself a “career criminal”. He has been convicted on many
previous occasions for theft, burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Having just left prison after his last conviction he decides he needs to get some
cash as he has not really been able to go out drinking with his friends.
Brian targets a property in a quiet residential street. He climbs over a 2 m high
wall to gain access to the back garden but because it was dusk he failed to notice
the glass and barbed wire on top of the wall. He cut his arm and leg quite badly.
This did not prevent him from stealing some garden tools that had been left lying
around and a solar powered fountain, all of which he sold for £40. The
replacement cost to the householder was £120.
The police were easily able to identify Brian as the perpetrator from the blood left
at the scene of the crime.
Brian was charged with theft – an either way offence.
- Explain, with reference to primary authority, the procedure that will be
followed to get this offence to trial. B
Secretary of State for Works and Pensions v Dole (2003).
The following are the material facts in this case.
The respondent is Frank Dole and is represented by James Trueman. (From the solicitor’s office, department of work and pensions).The case is before the appeal court. Frank Dole is married with twelve children among them a baby born after the commencement of these case. Currently only one of his children, a son, is employed and works in Manchester but still visits occasionally and over weekends at one of his residences’ in question. Eight of his children still depend on him directly for maintenance entirely while two others, twins, aged twenty years are in college but reside permanently in his other residence sharing with the son.
Frank Dole while working for a Somali Bank acquired some property some block away from his original home to house his large family. He was declared redundant on 30th June in the year 1999 after working for the bank for twenty two years. After exhausting his redundancy savings and his contributory allowance, Dole is seeking the statutory income based jobseekers allowance. The regulations governing the provisions of the act as outlined in section 13(1) of the jobseekers Act of 1995. Among the requirements is that the applicant to qualify, his capital comprising of only one dwelling should not exceed the statutory limit of $8000.
The legal issue in this case rotates under the regulation of the act that outlines the calculations and determination of the capital as covered in section 88 of the act, which precisely states that the dwelling of the applicant or the claimant must be determined and identified as being in one place.
Mr. Frank Dole for the purposes of these appeal claims categorically that his residence is one and the same though in different sites or location. The legal issue is the determination and the meaning of the word dwelling as used in the act and how it affects the two properties of Mr. Dole.
The word Claimant in this case refers also to Mr. Dole. It’s also defined under the jobseekers act of 1995 as a person who is claiming the allowance as a jobseeker. The main and statutory definition of dwelling as defined in regulation 1(3) of the jobseekers act of 1995 means the dwelling place as occupied by the gardens, the garage or any building mostly used as his home and which is impractical or is utterly unreasonable for the owner to dispose of separately.
Mr. Dole’s position is precarious in that his dwelling place is in two different locations. He occupies one house with his eight younger children together with his wife while the other house is occupied by his other four senior children, who are either attending a college or working in Manchester. It would be impractical for the claimant to dispose of the property while his children are still depending on him for maintenance. It’s also practical that his children will not depend on him forever. After his children are fully grown, they may move out of the family unit and be independent. This argument in this instance is not material enough to persuade the judge but it’s worth noting.
Under paragraph 1(1) of the same act schedule 2, it entitles the claimant to housing costs provided those costs are liable to meet the expenses of a dwelling used as a home for himself and his family. The claimant’s home is regarded as the dwelling occupied by him and family in Great Britain or otherwise.
The act further states that the costs will be approved if they are relating to two dwelling places if they are made regarding the movement to a second dwelling due to fear or violence to himself or a member of his family and that its reasonable that the other dwelling place should also be paid.
The costs will also apply if the claimant is a member of a polygamous marriage or if one of the partners is a full time student or is in any training that makes it unavoidable to occupy less than two separate dwellings and that its fair and reasonable that costs of both dwelling be met.
If a person has moved out to a separate location for a period not more than four benefit weeks and there’s unavoidable need to make the two payments and subject to and not including where subparagraph(v) applies.
Other allied provisions, under the enabling statute which the income support requirements and regulations of 1987 is based also defines dwelling as any accommodation or residential location whether its housed in a large building or houses separate and self contained structures or premises.
In the claimants case the houses are different places and slightly fits in the description. The self contained premises may be separate but its meaning and application also is not very clear. The house that the children are using comprises more than the real meaning of self contained premises. The judge has to draw a line and make a decision to what exactly is a dwelling and if the dwelling of Mr. Dole fits in the description and if he should be allowed to claim the jobseekers allowance as applied for.
Which technique(s) of statutory interpretation, Presumptions and/or ‘rules of language did ward L.J. employ in the case? Evidence your answer by reference to relevant dicta in the case.
The decision or the judgment was made following the literal rule of statute interpretation. The decision was based on the literal meaning of the provisions of the act. The definition of the word dwelling was in dispute. According to the judgment the word dwelling was expressively taken to mean exactly as it was intended that is, a home which can be more than one unit of accommodation and therefore qualify for the capital disregard under the provisions of the income support and also the provisions of the job seekers allowance.
The judgment also interpreted the provisions of the job seekers allowance act that defined further the meaning of a dwelling place, as explained by the oxford dictionary to mean a place of abode, where as a dwelling house is a house that’s a place of residence as differentiated from a business premises, an office or even a warehouse.
Hinchy v Secretary of State for work and Pensions (2003)
The facts of this case are similar to the current case
Explain in your own words the ratio decidendi of the secretary of state for works and pension.
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