Friday, May 09, 2008

Weird Cases: more astonishing delays

It would appear that it's not just Local Government Ombudsmen who take forever to reach a decision on some cases.

In 1823, Lord Eldon was pressed for his decision in Collis v Nott, which he had heard in 1817. He eventually confessed that he “had entirely forgotten it”.

In 1998, Mr Justice Harman resigned after the Court of Appeal had given stinging criticism of his delay in giving a judgment. He ignored counsels’ requests for judgments that were a long time coming. Then things came to a head when, following the case of a Lincolnshire farmer suing a firm of accountants, the judge didn’t give the judgment for over 80 weeks.

During the absurd delay, the farmer’s barrister got so frustrated that he considered taking out life insurance on the judge in case he died before giving judgment. The judge’s attitude was a shocking case of judicial negligence. He eventually ruled, wrongly as it turned out because he’d lost all his trial notes, that the farmer’s claim should fail. And what sort of claim was it that the farmer had brought and which the judge so confidently dismissed with almost no papers and even less memory? Of course, it was a claim in negligence. Click here to read the Times-on-Line story in full

Having read the Times-on-Line article two things spring to mind, should I take out life insurance on the Ombudsman and will they also get the decision wrong in my case?

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