LISTING IN THE COUNTY COURT: AN EVERY DAY STORY OF EVER DAY FOLK: “WE’VE GOT NO JUDGES”
Problems with listing are one of the hidden problems of civil procedure. Hearings are listed and then pulled out at the last moment, often after the parties have arrived at court. This is an issue that should be publicised. It is a scandal. It involves a considerable amount of wasted costs (usually irrecoverable) and a large degree of anxiety and uncertainty for the litigants and witnesses. In some cases a workplace has effectively, to close down to allow employees to attend. Anyone who experiences this should complain, vociferously, to the court, to the press and to their MP.
THE PERILS OF LISTING
Here is a single example from Twitter from the last two days. It involves one barrister, Philip Godfrey, on Tuesday Philip left Nottingham and made his way to Burnley for a trial.
“Oh, that warm and fuzzy feeling when you drive to Burnley for your trial to find that it was vacated last week. Curious, given that the Court staff confirmed to my clerks on Thursday that it was effective.”
Dispirited but undaunted Philip continued on his northern sojourn.
“So having been vacated at Court in Burnley, I pressed on to Barrow-in-Furness for my NIHL trial tomorrow. Got to the hotel, checked in, only to get a call that tomorrow has been vacated as well. You guessed it: lack of Judges. Couldn’t make it up.”
And so it concludes. Hundreds of miles travelled, expenses incurred. All for nothing.
“That’s two Fast Track trials vacated in two days for me. Huge waste of time, resources and needless anxiety for clients. This is happening more and more.”
Philip is not remarkably unlucky. This is a common occurrence.
PUBLICITY IS BETTER THAN SUFFERING IN SILENCE
If litigants and litigators continue to suffer in silence it is unlikely that anything will ever improve. These decisions can be made with impunity. It will remain a “hidden” problem with litigants continuing to suffer.
There is already a post on this blog that allows people to give details of listing issue, see the post here.
There is also the #courtlisting hashtag on twitter.