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R v Gomez – 1993

Legal Case Summary

R v Gomez [1993] AC 442

Dishonest appropriation of property by using stolen cheques to mislead shop manager


The defendant, Gomez, was an assistant manager of a store. He worked with two other people who had stolen cheques. Even though he knew the cheques were stolen, he convinced the store manager to accept them as payment for goods.


The crime of “theft” as defined in section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 requires, among other things, “dishonest appropriation.” This concept is expanded in section 3 of the 1968 Act to include “any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner.” According to a previous court case, Lawrence v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, any instance of obtaining something by deception can fall under section 1 of the 1968 Act. Therefore, the prosecution argued that it is not necessary to prove the lack of consent as an element of theft in this case. However, in another case, R v Morris, it was ruled that appropriation involves taking away or intruding upon the rights of the owner.


The House of Lords determined that the proposition in Morris, if it was legally accurate, applied only to the type of appropriation defined in section 3 of the 1968 Act. While appropriation may include taking away or interfering with the rights of the owner, it does not mean that no other act can be considered an appropriation. Following the case of Lawrence, the court ruled that there can be an “appropriation” even when the owner (the store manager in this case) consents to it. This case therefore established that an appropriation can be based on the individual’s intentions, and it is not necessary for the act to be inherently criminal for it to be considered a “dishonest appropriation.”

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Answering problem questions in the University of London LLB programme requires a clear understanding of legal principles, good analytical skills and the ability to apply the law to a given set of facts. Here are some tips to help you answer problem questions effectively:

  1. Read the question carefully: Make sure you understand what the question is asking before you begin writing.
  2. Identify the legal issues: Identify the legal issues raised by the facts and the relevant laws that apply to those issues.
  3. Analyze the facts: Analyze the facts presented in the question, focusing on the details that are relevant to the legal issues.
  4. Apply the law: Apply the relevant laws to the facts, making sure to consider all relevant legal principles and cases.
  5. Structure your answer: Use a clear and well-structured approach, starting with an introduction that outlines the main legal issues, followed by a discussion of the relevant laws and a conclusion that summarizes your analysis and sets out your conclusion.
  6. Use relevant cases and statutes: Cite relevant cases and statutes to support your analysis and help illustrate the legal principles you are discussing.
  7. Be concise: Be concise and to the point, focusing on the key issues and avoiding unnecessary detail.
  8. Proofread: Proofread your answer carefully to make sure it is error-free and clear.
  9. Time management: Make sure you manage your time effectively, leaving enough time to review your answer and make any necessary corrections.

By following these tips, you should be able to answer problem questions in the University of London LLB programme effectively and with confidence. Good luck!

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