Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017]

Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67 is a landmark case that addressed the concept of dishonesty in the context of cheating at gambling. This case established a new test for dishonesty, replacing the one established R v Ghosh [1982].

The case involved a professional gambler, Mr Ivey, who had used a technique called edge-sorting to gain an advantage over the casino during a game of Punto Banco. The casino refused to pay out his winnings of £7.7 million, arguing that Mr Ivey had cheated.

The Supreme Court in this case considered the test for dishonesty in criminal law, specifically the Ghosh test established in R v Ghosh [1982]. The court held that the second limb of the Ghosh test, which asks whether the defendant realised that what he was doing was dishonest according to the standards of ordinary and reasonable people, should be replaced by a new test based on the objective standards of ordinary and honest people.

The Court stated that dishonesty is a matter of the defendant's state of mind, but that the question of whether the defendant was dishonest must be determined by reference to the objective standards of ordinary and honest people. The court emphasised that a defendant's belief that his conduct was honest, even if it is honestly held, will not be a defence if that belief is not objectively reasonable.

Applying this new test, the Supreme Court held that Mr Ivey's conduct amounted to cheating, and that he had acted dishonestly. The court concluded that the casino was entitled to withhold Mr Ivey's winnings, and that Mr Ivey was not entitled to recover them.

Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017] brought about a significant shift in the legal understanding of dishonesty, particularly in cases related to cheating. Notably, the decision removed the subjective second limb of the Ghosh test for dishonesty, a landmark change that has implications not only in civil cases but has also influenced the approach of the test for dishonesty in criminal cases, as confirmed in R v Booth and Barton [2020].
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