About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

87 S. African L.J. 325 (1970)
The Rule in Hollington v. Hewthhorn Revisited

handle is hein.journals/soaf87 and id is 339 raw text is: THE RULE IN HOLLING TON v.
There is 'a strange rule of law', remarked Lord Denning M.R. in
Goody v. Odhams Press, Ltd., 'which says that a conviction is no evidence
of guilt, not even prima facie evidence'.'
Mr. Denning, K.C. (as he then was), had led for the appellant in the
notorious case of Hollington v. F. Hewthorn & Co., Ltd. and another,2
where this 'strange rule' was laid down. It seems that the learned Master
of the Rolls was left with a sense ofjustice ill done: 'I argued that case
myself and did my best to persuade the Court that a conviction was
evidence of guilt. But they would not have it. I thought that decision
was wrong at the time. I still think it was wrong.'3
Hollington v. Hewthorn arose out of a collision between two cars on a
highway in which the plaintiff's car was damaged. The driver of the
defendant's car was convicted in the magistrates' court of careless
driving. His conduct amounted to the tort of actionable negligence at
the suit the other user of the highway who had sustained damage as
a result of the careless driving. The plaintiff sued the driver and his
employer for damages caused by this tort, but before the hearing the
driver of the plaintiff's car died, depriving the plaintiff of his only
witness. He sought to put in evidence the conviction of the driver to
establish a prima facie case of negligence against him. The Court of
Appeal held this evidence to be inadmissible and the plaintiff's action
The wish of the Master of the Rolls that the position be altered4 has,
in England, been translated into action, the initial step of which was the
reference by Lord Gardiner L.C. of the implications of Hollington v.
Hewthorn to the distinguished Law Reform Committee appointed to
consider the law of evidence in civil cases.5
1 [1967] 1 Q.B. 333 (C.A.) at 339, [1966] 3 All E.R. 369 at 371.
2 [1943] K.B. 587 (C.A.), [1943] 2 All E.R. 35.
3 Goody v. Odhams Press, Ltd. at 339, 372.
' Barclays Bank, Ltd. v. Cole [1967] 2 Q.B. 738 (C.A.) at 743, [1966] 3 All E.R. 948 at 949.
5 15th Report ('The Rule in Hollington v. Hewthorn') (1967), Cmnd. 3391. The members were
Lord Pearson (Chairman), Lords Justices Diplock and Winn, Mr. Justice Bucldey and Mr. Justice
Orr, four Queen's Counsel (among them Mr. (now Mr. Justice) R. E. Megarry) and others of
high legal repute, including Professor Lord Lloyd of Hampstead, Professor A. G. Guest and
Professor F. J. Odgers.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most