Thursday, 11 January 2007

Facts and law

It's been a hectic week this week, hence the absence of new posts. And this is just a quickie to say I'm still alive. Or more or less sentient, at least. It's exhausting hanging around court all day taking notes, and I take it all back about legal days being a lot shorter than mortal days.

The Master is in the middle of what was an eight day case but has escalated upwards for reasons I'll explain when I'm less knackered. We'll be coming back for another four days in a couple of weeks. The evidence is all over the place and still being disclosed on what was supposed to be the penultimate day (mainly the fault of The Master's instructing solicitors) and there was also an urgent appeal to the Court of Appeal against an Order made by the trial judge. It took place before three Lords Justice. The Master was on absolutely top form and stole the show. He raised his game to make the error of law arguments very effectively: (i) what is the correct legal test, (ii) what legal test was applied, (iii) was the legal test that was applied therefore incorrect and (iv) did this make a difference to the exercise of discretion by the trial judge? I've seen a lot of lawyers struggle to make the transition between arguing facts and arguing law and the others were in essence re-arguing the factual issues already decided by the trial judge without engaging with the legal issues, despite quite a lot of prompting from the bench.

He clearly knew all this too, and very amusingly spent several minutes afterwards talking to the clerks to reassure himself that the law reporters will get copies of the judgment when it is handed down. There was one reporter in court at the start of the case, but he buggered off when the first barrister to go on turned out to be a bit waffley.

1 comment:

Wabisabi said...

May I just say that I enjoy reading your blog immensely? I especially appreciate the candid tone - fewer young things starting up in the profession would own up to not knowing 'Counsel' means the instructed barrister than you think.

I hope you won't mind me adding a link to you at my blog.