Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Sep 2019, 19:59

Well, the unauthorised use of the council's arms is discourteous, but is it actionable?

The Manchester case was about unauthorised use of the civic arms on a theatre's seal and proscenium arch. The Court ruled against the use of the arms on the seal, because the seal had legal significance, but not against the arms on the proscenium arch. In this case, the arms are on a carpet. If a proscenium arch is acceptable, why not a carpet?
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Chris Green
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Chris Green » 27 Sep 2019, 20:14

There may I suppose be a difference between honouring a coat of arms on a proscenium arch and dishonouring it by walking on it and grinding potato chips and beer into it.
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Iain Boyd » 28 Sep 2019, 21:23

I suspect that the council might not have had a problem with the use of their arms if the carpet had been a wall hanging rather than a carpet. From what can be seen in the photographs the carpet has been well produced and certainly would be much better hanging against a wall rather than on the floor for customers to walk over and spill beer and chips on as suggested by Chris. A pity!

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Martin Goldstraw
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 30 Sep 2019, 17:29

My initial reaction was why on earth didn't he use the arms of Sir Samuel Romilly after all, that is the name of the pub!!

My second thought was that I'm almost sure that I have somewhere in the recesses of my mind a quote from a recent Garter that the Court of Chivalry is long dead (I paraphrase)*** so good luck to anyone who tries to wake up that dinosaur. I just can't see the College having the stomach to risk it. I'm sure that Tim Martin could put up a good case for showing that he isn't bearing the arms but simply displaying them. Thousands of people throughout the land have representations of the arms of their local authority somewhere in their property; I don't believe that very many will have sought or obtained permission. We're all aware of the basic principle that it is perfectly proper to display someone else's arms as long as we don't pass them off as our own and even Kings of Arms have agreed that this is so. It might have upset the sensibilities of local councillors that the arms of their council have been woven into a carpet but unless they can show that Tim Martin has tried to pass them off as his own arms or those of his pub chain I believe that even if they could wake up the dinosaur they wouldn't have a cat in Hell"s chance of a finding in their favour.

*** In his judgement (Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties [1955] P133) Lord Goddard suggested that:
“If this court is to sit again it should be convened only when there is some really substantial reason for the exercise of its jurisdiction”.
In 1970, Arundel Herald Extraordinary advised Wolfson College, Oxford (who were considering whether to invoke a controversial University privilege in order to avoid paying for a grant of arms) that the effect of Lord Goddard’s dictum “must make any further sitting of the court unlikely even for a cause of instance; and the revival of causes of office, which were obsolescent even in the seventeenth century, would be more difficult still”.
In 1984, Garter King of Arms declined to ask the Court to rule against the assumption of unauthorised arms by a local authority, doubting whether the precedents would give jurisdiction (A New Dictionary of Heraldry (1987) Stephen Friar p.63).
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Arthur Radburn » 29 Oct 2019, 13:09

The latest : a statement from the town council, published on the website of the local newspaper (http://www.barry-today.co.uk/article.cf ... hyear=2019). A meeting is to be held between the council and the lawyers representing the pub owners, and no legal action has yet been taken.
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Arthur Radburn » 24 Feb 2020, 17:37

The matter moves forward. The chairman of the company that owns the pub is now talking to the town council about finding a solution : https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-51566825.
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Re: Barry Town Council v Wetherspoons - a new case for the Court of Chivalry?

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 24 Feb 2020, 19:30

Arthur Radburn wrote:The matter moves forward. The chairman of the company that owns the pub is now talking to the town council about finding a solution : https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-51566825.


Hopefully Mr Martin went into the discussions armed with the knowledge that being threatened with action in the Court of Chivalry is akin to being threatened with a snowball fight in high summer.
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