Day 160, week 33: LatinLover

What is it about using Latin in court that both attracts the most pompous members of the profession and also manages to unleash class warfare?  Today I had the smallest of car cases imaginable.  Couldn’t be more down to earth, all sitting around a table in the small claims court.  But it didn’t stop my opponent, let’s call him LatinLover (which though you haven’t even seen him, you are right to sense a degree of irony) piping up with a Latin phrase every five minutes.

“At what time did you arrive at the locus in quo?”

“This argument Sir, is a fortiori…”

“My client was completely bona fides in his account.”

“So, ex post facto, you might regret it?”

There were a ton of these and though each in itself was innocuous, it was almost as if he were trying to make a point.  In the end, the judge piped up with,

“Mr [LatinLover].  I’m afraid to have to tell you that they didn’t teach me Latin at my school.  Could you please from now on speak in plain English.”

Needless to say, he lost.

May 18, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 6 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

6 Responses

  1. Another Barrister - May 19, 2007

    There are many Latin Lovers in my experience

  2. Abigail - May 19, 2007

    Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernam dicet?
    Ubi nemo me lacessit? inquit Gandhi.
    In Poona!
    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  3. rumple - May 21, 2007

    Illegitimi nil carborundum

  4. Martin - May 21, 2007

    There are some latin tags that are very useful- i am yet to find acceptable alternatives for Mens Rea, Actus Reus, Ultra Vires or any number of very specific legal ideas, whatever the House of Lords may say about it. Used conversationally, however, it is no doubt an irritant.

  5. Sarah - May 21, 2007

    Latin lovers seem to be in every profession!

  6. NorthernSoul - May 21, 2007

    When my brother and sister-in-law celebrated their wedding in Inner Temple Hall, in my capacity as master of ceremonies, I was sorely tempted to do a Latin joke. Wiser counsels prevailed, but Abigail’s gags have emboldened me. Here goes:
    Dico, dico, dico! Quis erat mulier ille quam tecum vidi ultima nocte?
    Non mulier, sed uxorem meam erat!