Is Death Important?
Law, especially litigation, can be a very serious matter. Daily we are dealing with people’s worst days – sometimes their worst months and years.
But it can still have humours points, even if the clients don’t always realise it.
For example, when a client doesn’t think it’s important to tell us that a key party to a transaction is unavailable due to being dead, having been dead for some time. I mean, it’s not like they only just died. They’ve been dead since before the case started.
Or thinking that when they decide that the trial date is no longer convenient, I can just drop the Judge a line and have it moved a week or two, at one day’s notice. Strangely enough, whilst I have a very good relationship with most of the judiciary I appear before, I don’t have any of their personal numbers, and even if I did, I doubt they’d be willing to rearrange a three week case that has been listed for six months, not to mention the inconvenience it would cause to all the other parties involved.
In the same way that I can’t just pick up the phone to the Judge and tell him that the other side are being difficult and can he just phone them up and tell them to behave. In all honesty, life might be a lot easier if that was the case, but, in reality, I have to make a formal application (and pay a fee), draft a witness statement, send both to the court, have it listed for a hearing where the other side get to have their say and then the Judge makes a decision.
Whilst all of this might have bought a smile to your face on what otherwise may have been a rather dreary start to the day, there is still an important message here. Litigation is a very serious business, full of rules and procedures that (like it or not) we have to follow. There are processes we have to go through. Forms we have to complete. Conventions we have to comply with. I can’t speak directly to the other side if they are legally represented. I can only speak to their solicitor. I cannot promise you how soon we will get to a final hearing and I cannot guarantee you what the outcome will be, but I can promise that I will work as hard as I can to get you the best outcome that I can. Litigation is not something to be gone into lightly and if you’re going to do it, be prepared for the fact that things can get rough.
I can also promise you that if you took legal advice before you did the deal in the first place (buying, selling, going into business together etc etc etc) there is a strong chance that you might have avoided the risk of litigation or at least gone in to it in a better position. So the next time that you’re thinking that you don’t need or can’t afford legal advice, consider whether you can afford not to have it.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. As certain as death and taxes.