Marco (Croydon) Ltd v Metropolitan Police Commissioner: QBD 1983

The defendant company traded as A and J Bull Containers. They hired out a builder’s skip which was left out, unlit, on the highway at night. A cyclist rode into it and died. An information was laid against ‘A J Bull Ltd’, charging an offence under the Highways Act 1980. The hearing took place after the expiry of the six-month limitation period permitted by Section 127 of the 1980 Act. Counsel appeared for A and J Bull Limited, a separate company entirely. The offending skip bore the name ‘A and J Bull’. A delivery and collection note in respect of it bore the inscription ‘Marco (Croydon) Limited T/A A and J Bull Containers’. The prosecution applied for the amendment of the name, which was allowed. The company appealed its conviction.
Held: The justices had been wrong to permit the amendment, and the appeal was allowed. The justices had correctly formulated the law in the case stated as follows: ‘We were of the opinion that, where the wrong person has been summoned, amendment should not be allowed but where the prosecutor has correctly identified the defendant but merely misstated the name, amendment should be allowed . .’ They applied that test in this way: ‘Applying those principles to the present case we were of the opinion that the prosecutor clearly intended to summon the corporation which supplied the skip whose name was wrongly copied from the delivery note. We therefore allowed the amendment.’ Glidewell J: ‘What the justices do not say and do not specifically find is that the correct company, Marco (Croydon) Limited, received the summons and were apprised that they were being blamed for breach of Section 139 ….. and it was that company, through [counsel], which appeared before the justices on 11 June’ – the date of the hearing – ‘[Counsel] says that he appeared instructed by another company called A and J Bull Limited which is a separate legal entity. ‘


Glidewell J, Nolan J


[1983] Crim LR 395


Magistrates’ Court Act 1980


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd v HM Courts Service (South West Region, Devon and Cornwall Area) and others Admn 14-Jun-2006
The defendants sought judicial review of decisions by magistrates to substitute out of time properly named companies as defendants in cases under the 1990 Act.
Held: The court had repeated the error made in the Marco case, by substituting as a . .
AppliedRegina v Greater Manchester Justices Ex Parte Aldi Gmbh and Co Kg; Aldi Gmbh v Mulvenna QBD 28-Dec-1994
The substitution of a defendant in a case before the magistrates was challengeable where it was not a mere mistake in the name of the defendant. The wholesalers who should have been named had been in correspondence for some time with the prosecutor . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.243317