Keep it complicated

“I’m really struggling to draft a Particulars of Claim I’ve been set,” said one of the pupils today.

“The general rule,” said OldSmoothie, “is to make it as long and convoluted as possible.”

The pupil looked confused. “But TheBusker was telling us only the other day never to say in a thousand words words what you can say with just a smile and a couple of sentences.” His voice went up in tone as he neared the end of the sentence.

“TheBusker’s quite right when it comes to court appearances,” said OldSmoothie. “After all, if you’re on a fixed fee, there’s no point messing around. But when you’re getting paid by the hour it’s always best to string it out for as much as you can.”

“Oh,” said the pupil.

“Yes,” said OldSmoothie warming to his theme. “Remember, they’re hiring a barrister and they don’t expect to get back a document that any man or woman off the street could write. What kind of an impression would that give?”

“Er …”

“Now, once you’ve mastered that, you also have to remember the exception to the general rule.”

“Which is?”

“That you should always leave at least one of the particulars vague or unclear.”

“Why’s that?” asked the pupil.

“Ah, ever the innocent,” said OldSmoothie. “Never forget that it’s all about costs, young man. Always and everywhere. If you understand that you’ll understand the reasoning behind every one of my little rules of practice.”

“I see,” he replied, clearly not seeing at all. “So, I leave it vague because…” He tailed off looking lost.

“Because it will force the other side to draft a Part 18 Request for Further Information. Now what does that signify to you?”

“The pupil’s face brightened as if a light had just been switched on in his head.

“Why, then I’d then have to draft a reply to that Part 18 Request.”

“Precisely,” said OldSmoothie.

“Which of course means more costs,” said the pupil.

“And never forget to seek more information whenever you do an initial advice,” said OldSmoothie.

“And once that information is returned, I suppose a conference would always help to clarify matters further,” said the pupil.

“Now you’re starting to sound like a real lawyer,” said OldSmoothie with a huge beam and not a little pride in his voice.

“It’s moments like that which make OldSmoothie skip home at night knowing that he’s done a some good in the world,” whispered BusyBody to TheVamp sarcastically.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

May 25, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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