The court of Appeal's decision in In re Spectrum Plus Ltd (In Liquidation) has been the subject of numerous criticisms in this journal and elsewhere. One aspect of that decision which is of equal importance, but which appears to have thus far escaped a significant measure of attention, involves the question whether the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and a first instance judge are at liberty to disregard a previous decision of the Court of Appeal which has been disapproved by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Whilst the Spectrum trial court seems to have taken for granted its power to decline to follow such a decision, the Court of Appeal decided otherwise, and added that it was itself not free to do so. In the appeal to the House of Lords, the point was not addressed. It is this issue which is explored in this essay.
Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.