Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A legal eagle speaks

M'learned friend having completed his energetic pursuance of a case through the Hoose o Peers (what kind of archaic system is that - why doesn't England get its own supreme court and give back the final say on all Scottish cases to our College of Justice?), I took the opportunity to seek his sage advice on the matter of pre-action protocols of the kind that Gordon Brown has recently claimed to be the saviour of English mortgages.

"So," said I, "these pre-action protocols,"

"Harrumph!" he replied (I had to check the spelling)

"Is there anything in them?"

"Of course there is, but nothing of any substance."

"What can they be used for?"

"Toilet paper" (I paraphrase) "No, no, that's slightly unfair. They have no legal weight. They are, in essence, proforma for agreements that would in earlier times have been called gentlemen's agreements, there's no real sanction if either side decides to ignore them."

"So they're pointless and useless?"

"Well, in a case where, for example, the parties could have settled earlier using the protocol but they can't reach agreement and the settlement later leaves one of the parties in a less advantageous state than they would have been had they accepted the workings of the protocol then it has been known for the bench to 'give them a slap' as it were with the expenses, but the bench has the power to do that in any case and doesn't need the protocols. It does give the old buffer something to bolster his reasoning with, though."

"In essence, though?"

"I wouldn't rely on a protocol."

This is, of course, a remembered conversation, but my memory is renowned...
I have quizzed m'learned friend upon the procedure which an aggrieved person can use to enforce things like, for example, the FSA handbook. I wrote down his answer but, unfortunately, left it in my other jacket so I'll have to post it later - I'm sick of paying for pints in guineas.

Can I just say, though, that if you are the type of person who has mistaken pomposity for intellect and writes long, rambling and boring comments which are full of errors, I'm afraid I won't be publishing them. Feel free to write all of your thoughts up in your own space - if you post a witty and brief comment pointing people in that direction, I might be persuaded to publish that. Then again, you might catch me when I'm in a mood not to.

Now then, I hear Glenrothes is getting even better for us. Nationalists one and all, to action stations! Staff yer door-knockers, limber up those leafleting fingers, massage those tired wee legs for one last push! One week to go chaps and chapesses! One more week, just seven more days - and then you can sleep.

Mind how you go.

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