Argos argued it was an abuse of the process for Barking & Dagenham to prosecute it when it received and followed advice from Milton Keynes Council, its primary authority partner for trading standards.
Local Government Lawyer reported that in London Borough of Barking and Dagenham v Argos Ltd  EWHC 1398 (Admin) Lord Justice Edis, sitting with Mrs Justice McGowan, said that the court faced a case in which there were two appeals by case stated and one claim for judicial review.
These all arose from a hearing in Romford Magistrates Court by District Judge Holdham, who had decided the council’s application for a summons over the sale of a knife to a minor was a nullity as it did not demonstrate the relevant time limit for prosecutions. Barking & Dagenham then appealed against this.
Argos argued it was an abuse of the process for Barking & Dagenham to prosecute it when it received and followed advice from Milton Keynes Council, its primary authority partner for trading standards matters, and so it had a defence of due diligence.
Barking & Dagenham contended this was wrong as the Criminal Justice Act 1988 does not apply the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (RESA).
Lord Justice Edis said Barking & Dagenham was right as its enforcement action was taken under section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and “until its recent amendment, the 1988 Act was not a relevant enactment for the purposes of RESA”.
He added: “Another factor of importance is the fact that [Barking & Dagenham] is not the person who gave the advice, and now seeks to go back on it.
“Outside the statutory scheme of RESA, the [council] has the responsibility for enforcement in its geographical area, and decisions of Milton Keynes do not bind it. Argos knows this. [Barking & Dagenham] has done nothing to engender any sense of unfairness.”
Source: Local Government Lawyer