Kerry Underwood imagines what it would be like to drop in on a Civil Procedure Rules Committee meeting
Kerry Underwood walks into the middle of a Rules Committee meeting and hears the following:
Member 1 (M1): This rule about only getting court fees if you are late wiv your budget. It’s mad! The other side can do wot they like – ignore Part 36 and everyfing!
Member 2 (M2): I fink where a naughty party is late, but the other party is naughty about Part 36, then as they are both really naughty, then the late party should get half.
Chorus: Yeah good idea! Half each if everyone is naughty!
Member 3 (M3): Is it Part 36 cos this is our 36th go at getting it right?
Member 4 (M4): Course it is you muppet. Next time it will be Part 37.
Member 5 (M5): Who made the court fees only rule in the first place?
Chorus: We did stupid! We make mad rules so we can change them.
Member 6 (M6): Let’s really muck up Part 36 by making Dodgy Claimants…
Chorus: Over the wall we go – all Claimants are dodgy
M6: … by making Dodgy Claimants show that their offers are really, properly, genuinely, madly serious.
Chorus: Yeah! Let’s!
M4: Let’s muck up the kid’s stuff – that really annoys everyone. Let’s make them show a risk assessment, even though they won’t have one cos you’re not meant to do it like that now. And let’s make them break the law by telling the court the advice they gave to little Johnny. If they don’t, then no deduction. If they do – contempt of court.
M5: That is in breach of the Act and nearly 1,000 years of common law. It is ultra vires.
Chorus: (To the tune of Funky Gibbon by The Goodies) Ooh-Ooh-Ooh, the Ultra Vires.
M5: This is getting out of hand. Thank goodness we got the whole Relief from Sanctions rule spot on. I hate to think what could have happened there, conflicting Court of Appeal decisions, months of chaos, anything.
M3: And proper partiality – that is really good. No-one understands it.
M1: It’s called portion penalty, stupid!
Chorus: The sick brown QOCS jumps over the lazy dog.
Kerry leaves as the Rules Committee starts dancing round the room clapping and singing The Birdy Song “with a little bit of this and a little bit of that….”
Kerry Underwood is the chairman of Law Abroad. He is a solicitor, author, lecturer and broadcaster.