R v Allen [1985]

R v Allen [1985] AC 1029 is a notable case decided by the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. The case involved the interpretation of the offence of making off without payment under the Theft Act 1968.

In this case, Allen stayed at a hotel for nearly a month but left without settling his bill. He contacted the hotel and explained that he was experiencing financial difficulties due to pending business transactions. As a form of security for the debt, he left his passport with the hotel and arranged to collect his belongings later. However, upon his return to the hotel to retrieve his belongings, he was arrested by the police.

During the trial, the jury sought clarification on whether the offence of making off without payment required an intention to permanently avoid payment or if a temporary evasion of payment could be sufficient. The judge instructed the jury that in count 2 of the case, where payment was required on the spot upon leaving the hotel, there had been a failure to make payment as required.

The jury convicted Allen, but he appealed the decision, arguing that the offence should only apply to cases involving a permanent intention to avoid payment.

The House of Lords quashed the conviction and ruled in his favour. It was held that the offence of making off without payment required an intention to permanently avoid payment. They made a distinction between count 1, which involved a permanent intent to avoid payment, and count 2, where payment was expected on the spot but did not necessarily indicate a permanent intention to avoid payment.

This case clarified that the offence of making off without payment required a permanent intent to avoid payment. A temporary evasion of payment, as in count 2 of the case, was not considered sufficient to establish the offence.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.