Wednesday, 11 April 2007


This morning I tagged along with then had a good chat and coffee with last year's successful pupil. We talked about the sort of work I'm likely to be doing and what to do if the clerks give me something I don't feel competent to handle.

I definitely need to see some non-molestation, occupation and prohibited steps order work and some committals. The former relate mainly to private family law proceedings where there is an allegation of harassment, violence or similar against a partner or former partner, the latter to alleged breaches of one of these orders, where the alleged commitor may be fined or sent to prison.

So, just now, I asked one of the senior clerks whether there is any of this work going on over the next few days.

‘It’s a bit quiet this week,’ I was told, ‘but there’s something right up your street on Friday. It’s Miss X who’s doing it, and she’s in today so drop in and have a word. Mind you, she probably doesn’t know what she’s doing on Friday yet.’

As a sort of aside, he then went on, ‘I wouldn’t normally send someone so senior, but it is a firm we like to keep sweet.’

So, I innocently dropped in, started to explain the context, but found myself talking to thin air as she stomped out to see the clerk concerned. ‘I’m not minded to do any such thing as an occupation order! We’ll see about this. You’re welcome to come if I do it, but that’s not very likely!’

To make matters worse, on the way out of her room I then bumped into someone on the library committee. I was escorted to the bookshelves full of pending loose leaf filing and told in no uncertain terms to get cracking, pronto. I wasn’t actually dragged by my ear, but it felt like it. I admit that it isn’t quite as bad as I have imagined in my occasional loose leaf filing nightmares, but there’s a couple of full book shelves that need doing.

Think how many wafer-thin pages of material that means. Sometimes inserted page by page. Argh.

I then went back to see the clerks. Apparently Miss X hasn’t been to see them. I muttered something about the possibility that she might drop by and didn’t seem too happy about Friday. The senior clerk’s response was a nonchalant yet also somehow threatening simultaneous shrugging and squaring of the shoulders. The kind you see just before something kicks off – not a threat as such, more like an invitation to have a go.

I scurried away. My courageous and bold plan now is now to remain in hiding until after they’ve all gone tonight. I don’t want to end up as collateral damage.

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