Echoing my siren call of 5 weeks ago for our children not to post every detail of their lives on Twitbook and Facetwit (or should that be Facetwat ?! - see Your Face or Mine), this week the nation's judiciary have been issued with an updated Guide to Judicial Conduct, containing the do's-and-don'ts and netiquette of their on-line lives ... .. in particular, the prescient advice not to post too much personal information - such as the details of the latest S&M parties or massage parlours they've frequented - lest the 'criminal fraternity' decide to take advantage of these juicy titbits from their Lordships or their Highnesses, or whatever title one is supposed to use to address these post-Dickensian relics that somehow still populate our judiciary.
I say "Our", but these Bigwigs - literally in this case - are as connected to the rest of mainstream society as a lavatorial cling-on or one of President Bush's notorious, 'hanging-chads' ... .. being chauffeured between their men's clubs in Piccadilly and their country estates, the only real contact they have with day-to-day, credit-crunch Britain being the London beggars they see through the rear windows of their limousines - oh and the immigrant prostitutes they 'sleep' with of course.
All jesting aside - and many a truth is said in jest - I was once involved in a very important and very urgent injunction to do with protecting the famous Motown trademark and which ended-up in the Court of Appeal. In the High Court, the arguments (sorry - submissions) raged-on for hours, with regular references to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson and yet, when the Judge came to delivering his Judgement - in a case that was all to do with the value of the Motown legacy let's not forget - he started his summing-up with the words "You must bear in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that I have never heard of any of these characters" ... .. needless to say, he refused the injunction. This would almost have been funny, if it wasn't so shocking - although I suppose we shouldn't be shocked by anything the judiciary say and do when other judges are alleged not to have heard of Gazza or The Beatles !!!
And it's not just the details of everyday life that our Bigwigs are ignorant of - sometimes they appear to get the law wrong as well. In another High Court case that I was involved with (and in a trial that lasted a full month), the Judge decided that four lads who had formed a pop group together - that went-on to be very famous - were not in partnership together, despite the fact that they had all signed a joint contract with a manager, had all applied for joint trademarks for their group's name and had all been jointly touting their recordings around numerous record labels (ultimately to great success) ... .. unusually, the legal definition of a partnership is very simple (at least on this planet) and is just "Two or more persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit" ... .. as our American cousins would say, "Go Figure [it out]".
With not dissimilar resonance, another client was in court this very week and has encountered the all-too-frequent dilemma of the costs of the case ending-up being several times the amount in dispute ... .. how can so little have changed since Dickens' startling Bleak House of 1852 ?!
Let's just have Virtual Judges and be done with it !! ... .. then this lot can party-away to their hearts' content, while the rest of the nation can get-on with the job of having a proper judicial system - one that's fair, consistent and, above-all, affordable ... .. to wit, let's get rid of litigators as well and just have a giant, Kubrickesque, HAL type database of laws and precedents, into which litigants-in-person can submit their cases via lie-detectors ... .. Judgements would be delivered electronically and in minutes and the 'legal costs' would consist of the bus fare to court.
So there you have it - Dickens' concerns about the legal system finally addressed, albeit a-hundred-and-fifty years late ... .. and, if my blog doesn't appear next week, I've probably been banged-up for contempt-of-court, in which case please start a campaign to free the 'Huffington One' asap !!
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