Today I went along to a settlement conference with an insurer that usually instructs UpTights but got me today as she was already booked up. This is basically where both sides get together and chew over the fat on the case and eventually make offers to try and get rid of the case early on. Today though was different. UpTights had given me a warning about what might happen beforehand: “I’m afraid BabyB that you’ll find our insurer client today a little eccentric. Nothing I can do I’m afraid. He has his foibles and ultimately he’s the boss. Very frustrating though.”
“What sort of foibles?”
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough.”

The conference was to take place along one particular floor in chambers so that people would be able to go off to their own private rooms for discussion and then return to the main room for negotiation. OldSmoothie was representing the other side and was there first. For some reason his clients were not in attendance. “I believe that you’re representing Sundance today. Shame UpTights isn’t here. I just know how you love these occasions.”

At which point Sundance the insurer himself appeared. “Ah, OldSmoothie, very good to see you. All set for a show down, I hope?”
“Been practicing all month Sundance. Shall we get down to it?”

OldSmoothie went over to the telephone and called down to the clerks: “Can you bring up the toys please?”

A few minutes later and FanciesHimself the junior clerk came into the room carrying a box in front of him like it was the crown jewels. I looked more closely. It was a game of Battleships. “Set ’em up then, OldSmoothie. Your turn to go first, I believe?”

At this point no-one had yet explained exactly what was going on but it was slowly starting to dawn on me. “Don’t worry BabyB,” said Sundance after they’d set it up. “This is no more random than putting your case in front of a judge and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. We start with an agreed settlement range. Then if I beat OldSmoothie here at Battleships, he only gets the bottom of that range. If I lose, he gets the top end. Simple as that, really.”

He noticed that I looked slightly confused. “Why brief counsel on our own side you ask?”
“No, I wasn’t wanting to suggest…”
“I’ve known OldSmoothie here for years. Fought hundreds of cases against each other. He always insists that if we are to settle a case by Battleships. He’ll only do it if UpTights can be the referee. You’re just lucky enough to get the brief as her stand-in.”

OldSmoothie looked very pleased with himself. “Yes, she’s the most expense Battleships referee in the world ever.”

They both sat down at the table and stared at each other like it was high noon at the OK Corral. Silence descended and then the duel began.

On this occasion it was OldSmoothie who won the day and he rang his solicitor client from the room to report on what a tough negotiation he had been through.

May 3, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

3 Responses

  1. Joolz - January 25, 2008

    superb – that had me laughing out loud!!

  2. BonaraLaw - January 27, 2008

    I’m going to introduce this into my plea barganing- agree a spread of years/months for a particular punter and of we go. Perhaps we could asssign different disposals to each vessel. Custody for the carrier, custody/ probation for the battleship and a “suspender” for the cruiser.

  3. Uncivil Serpent - January 28, 2008

    I’m fairly certain the Met / CPS use a cut down version of cluedo, and some magic circle firms commercial property teams take monopoly a little too seriously… but battleships?