CIVIL LITIGATION REVIEW OF 2017 (II): OPENING LINES OF JUDGMENTS
The opening lines of judgments has been a much-discussed issue this year. A brief discussion on Twitter led firstly to the ICLR posting a detailed review Battle of the BAILLI – the best opening lines of a judgment. This is turn led Henry Brooke to write Judgments: the best opening lines -and a few more. This year there have been a large number of candidates, it seems churlish to choose one.
THE CHANCERY DIVISION: WHEN EXPENDITURE EXCEEDS INCOME – BY A FRACTION
The opening lines that started the entire debate were those of His Honour Judge Purle QC in Officeserve Technologies Ltd, Re  EWHC 906 (Ch)
“I have an application before me brought on behalf of a company called Officeserve Technologies Limited (“the company”). The company has achieved what must be the stellar ambition of many of generating a turnover, I am told, of £52,000 per annum and spending £450,000 a month doing so. That is of itself astonishing and it is not surprising to find it appearing before me today on an application made by its directors seeking some form of insolvency process: “
BLUEBELLS, THERE ARE ALWAYS BLUEBELLS
Master McCloud’s in Caretech Community Services Ltd v Oakden & Ors  EWHC 1944 (QB).
“April and indeed May are, notoriously, ‘bluebell time in Kent’, but on the Masters’ corridor those months this year have yielded only a dry and unlovely crop of procedural service issues. Despite efforts by numerous courts at all levels to prevent their re-growth, issues over service of claim forms tend to spring up, encouraging a simile far too obvious to state.
YOU CAN TELL WHAT IS COMING NEXT
Upper Tribunal judge Nicholas Wikeley in AF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (DLA) (No2) (Tribunal procedure and practice – fair hearing) UKUT 366 (AAC) gave judgment in what he regarded as a “car crash” of a case.
“Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.”
THE BEST ONE – STAND AND DELIVER
The opening lines of the judgment of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in Hughes (VO) v York Museums and Gallery Trust (Rev 1)  UKUT 200 (LC) provides the best, well my favourite, opening lines of a judgment for 2017.
1. On 7 April 1739 Dick Turpin was taken from a cell in York Castle to the city gallows at Knavesmire where he was hanged for the theft of three horses. He is said to have put on a good show, dressing in a new frock coat, bowing to spectators and paying three pounds ten shillings for the services of five professional mourners. With the assistance of the Victorian romantic novelist, William Ainsworth, Turpin’s reputation as a loveable rogue grew; he is now English history’s most celebrated highwayman, and the cell from which he contemplated his mortality is an attraction in the York Castle Museum, where it is seen by visitors from around the world.
2. The same visitors to York might cross the city’s historic centre to The Yorkshire Museum, purpose built by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in 1830 amid the ruins of an eleventh century abbey, and set in extensive botanical gardens enclosed on one side by the substantial fortifications of the former Roman encampment and on another by the River Ouse. On leaving the Museum the visitor might pause at the adjoining Yorkshire Art Gallery, another grand Victorian building housing the works of Yorkshire artists, or divert to the thirteenth century church of St Mary’s, now a heritage centre and occasional exhibition space.
(Readers may think that there is an element of unconscious bias in my selecting opening lines about a Yorkshire city for the second year running. Be assured. There is nothing unconscious about this bias at all).
FIREWORKS FROM THE MUSEUM GARDENS
There is only one appropriate way to end this post – with fireworks direct from York Museum Gardens…