The defendant appealed the making of a sex offender order under 1998 Act. The justices had found that the defendant was a sex offender within section 2(1)(a) and that he had acted on a number of occasions in a way which brought him within section 2(1)(b).
Held: The civil standard of proof is flexible and can vary with the seriousness of the allegation made. The court considered the standard of proof applicable: ‘In a serious case such as the present the difference between the two standards is, in truth, largely illusory. I have no doubt that, in deciding whether the condition in section 2(1)(a) is fulfilled, a magistrates’ court should apply a civil standard of proof which will for all practical purposes be indistinguishable from the criminal standard. In deciding whether the condition in section 2(1)(b) is fulfilled the magistrates’ court should apply the civil standard with the strictness appropriate to the seriousness of the matters to be proved and the implications of proving them.’ and ‘There is no room for doubt about the mischief against which this legislation is directed, which is the risk of re-offending by sex offenders who have offended in the past and have shown a continuing propensity to offend. Parliament might have decided to wait until, if at all, the offender did offend again and then appropriate charges could be laid on the basis of that further offending. Before 1998 there was effectively no choice but to act in that way. But the obvious disadvantage was that, by the time the offender had offended again, some victim had suffered. The rationale of section 2 was, by means of an injunctive order, to seek to avoid the contingency of any further suffering by any further victim. It would also of course be to the advantage of a defendant if he were to be saved from further offending. As in the case of a civil injunction, a breach of the court’s order may attract a sanction. But, also as in the case of a civil injunction, the order, although restraining the defendant from doing that which is prohibited, imposes no penalty or disability upon him. I am accordingly satisfied that, as a matter of English domestic law, the application is a civil proceeding, as Parliament undoubtedly intended it to be.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill: ‘The rationale of section 2 was, by means of an injunctive order, to seek to avoid the contingency of any further suffering by any further victim. It would also of course be to the advantage of a defendant if he were to be saved from further offending. As in the case of a civil injunction, a breach of the court’s order may attract a sanction. But, also as in the case of a civil injunction, the order, although restraining the defendant from doing that which is prohibited, imposes no penalty or disability upon him. I am accordingly satisfied that, as a matter of English domestic law, the application is a civil proceeding, as Parliament undoubtedly intended it to be.’ and ‘If anyone is the subject of a prohibitory court order for breach of which he is liable to severe punishment, that person is entitled to know, clearly and unambiguously, what conduct he must avoid to comply with the order. Such clarity is essential for him. It is scarcely less essential for any authority responsible for policing compliance with the order and for any court called upon to decide whether the terms of the order have been broken. The order should be expressed in simple terms, easily understood even by those who, like the appellant, are not very bright. If the order is wider than is necessary for the purposes of protecting the public from serious harm from the defendant, the order will not meet the requirements of section 2(4) of the 1998 Act and will fall foul of the Convention requirement that the means employed, if restrictive of guaranteed rights, should be necessary and proportionate to the legitimate ends towards which they are directed.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, CJ
 1 WLR 340,  Po LR 98,  EWHC 559 (QB),  1 All ER 562
Crime and Disorder Act 1998 2
England and Wales
Cited – In re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
Cited – Gough and Another v Chief Constable of Derbyshire CA 20-Mar-2002
The appellants challenged the legality under European law of orders under the Act restricting their freedom of movement, after suspicion of involvement in football violence.
Held: Although the proceedings under which orders were made were . .
Cited – In re LU (A Child); In re LB (A Child) (Serious Injury: Standard of Proof); re U (A Child) (Department for Education and Skills intervening) CA 14-May-2004
In each case, the other parent appealed care orders where she had been found to have injured her children. In each case the sole evidence was the injury to the child’s health and expert medical evidence. The cases were referred following the . .
Cited – Re ET (Serious Injuries: Standard of Proof) FD 2003
The court heard a care application in which the baby had sustained skull, brain and other injuries alleged to be at the hands of her parents.
Held: The standard of proof was the civil standard of the balance of probabilities and directed . .
Distinguished – Regina (DJ) v Mental Health Review Tribunal; Regina (AN) v Mental Health Review Tribunal (Northern Region) Admn 11-Apr-2005
Each applicant sought judicial review of the refusal of the tribunal to authorise their release from detention under the 1983 Act, saying that the Tribunal had accepted evidence to a lower standard of proof.
Held: Neither the criminal standard . .
Cited – Regina (McCann and Others) v Manchester Crown Court CA 9-Mar-2001
Proceedings applying for an anti-social behaviour order, were properly civil proceedings, with civil standards of evidence, and the Human Rights Act provisions relating to criminal proceedings, were not applicable either. The section included acts . .
Cited – Clingham (formerly C (a minor)) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Regina v Crown Court at Manchester Ex parte McCann and Others HL 17-Oct-2002
The applicants had been made subject of anti-social behaviour orders. They challenged the basis upon which the orders had been made.
Held: The orders had no identifiable consequences which would make the process a criminal one. Civil standards . .
Cited – Campbell v Hamlet (as executrix of Simon Alexander) PC 25-Apr-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant was an attorney. A complaint was made that he had been given money to buy land, but neither had the land been conveyed nor the money returned. The complaint began in 1988, but final speeches were not heard until . .
Cited – W, Regina (on the Application Of) v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 8-Jun-2005
The defendant appealed a conviction for breaching an anti-social behaviour order. The order had prohibited him from committing any criminal act. It was now challenged as being too wide a prohibition.
Held: ‘The defendant had already been . .
Cited – AN, Regina (on the Application of) v Mental Health Review Tribunal (Northern Region) and others CA 21-Dec-2005
The appellant was detained under section 37 of the 1983 Act as a mental patient with a restriction under section 41. He sought his release.
Held: The standard of proof in such applications remained the balance of probabilities, but that . .
Cited – Fiona Trust and Holding Corp and others v Privalov and others ComC 20-Oct-2006
The parties disputed whether their claim should be arbitrated.
Held: A claim as to whether the contract itself had been made was not one which could be arbitrated by provisions in that contract. It does not arise ‘under’ the contract. The . .
Cited – In re D; Doherty, Re (Northern Ireland); Life Sentence Review Commissioners v D HL 11-Jun-2008
The Sentence Review Commissioners had decided not to order the release of the prisoner, who was serving a life sentence. He had been released on licence from a life sentence and then committed further serious sexual offences against under-age girls . .
Cited – Langley v Preston Crown Court and others CACD 30-Oct-2008
The defendant sought to appeal against a ‘stand-alone’ anti-social behaviour order. The parties disputed whether an appeal lay. The act created an appeal against the making of an order but in this case it was a renewed order.
Held: In the . .
Cited – In re S-B (Children) (Care proceedings: Standard of proof) SC 14-Dec-2009
A child was found to have bruising consistent with physical abuse. Either or both parents might have caused it, but the judge felt it likely that only one had, that he was unable to decide which, and that they were not so serious that he had to say . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.179863