COVID REPEATS 21: OPENING LINES OF JUDGMENTS (WITH SOME NEW ONES THROWN IN): BJORN AGAIN
Today we are looking at opening lines of judgment. We also have a new opening line from earlier this year.
ABBA: (ALTHOUGH THE WINNER DIDN’T TAKE IT ALL…)
In April this year in a judgment about an inheritance dispute HHJ Abba was cited. (Bullock -v- Dent HHJ Gosnell 15th April 2020).
“The Judges will decide, the likes of me abide.
Spectators of the show, always staying low”
1. These words were written by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson for the 1980 hit “The Winner Takes It All” by the pop group Abba. In the winter of 2014, the Claimant went to watch an Abba tribute act called “Voulez Vous” with her then partner Simon Denton at the Plowright Theatre in Scunthorpe. I would be surprised if the song I refer to was not played. Little did the Claimant know that by May 2017 Simon would have passed away and by March 2020 she would become embroiled in hard-fought litigation where she and Mr Denton’s brother would each be hoping to be the “winner”, and they would have to “abide” by the decision of a Judge.”
THE TATOO ARTIST -v- THE CACTUS SHOP
In 2018 I virtually had to stop the competition.
Martinez (t/a Prick) & Anor v Prick Me Baby One More Time Ltd (t/a Prick) & Anor  EWHC 776 (IPEC)
Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke:
THE WISE CHILD
K (A Child) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1834 (Admin)
Helen Mountfield QC
It is said to be a wise child who knows his own father. It might be thought, having read the facts of this case, that it is an even wiser child who knows who is deemed to be her father for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981 as amended (“the BNA 1981”). But, as the facts of this case also show, this can be an important question, in particular, for a child who seeks to establish their entitlement to British nationality through her father, by virtue of section 1 of that Act.
Brayshaw v The Partners of Apsley Surgery & Anor  EWHC 3286 (QB)
Mr Justice Martin Spencer
- Plato said:
“The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.”
Thankfully, medicine has moved on in the intervening 2,400 years and the separation of medicine and religion is well-established. A doctor who uses, or abuses, his position to inculcate his patients with his religious beliefs is acting unprofessionally and deserves to be struck off. The issue in this case is whether such a doctor is also tortiously liable to his patient where the patient is occasioned harm and whether, if he is, liability transfers to his employer or quasi-employer through the doctrine of vicarious liability.
DINOSAURS ROAMED THE LAND
Murray -v- BEJ Minerals (DC Np.1.14.cv-00106-SPW.
District Judge Robreno.
Once upon a time, in a place now known as Montana, dinosaurs roamed the land. On a fateful day, some 66 million years ago, two such creatures, a 22-foot-long theropod and a 28-foot-long ceratopsian, engaged in mortal combat. While history has not recorded the circumstances surrounding this encounter, the remnants of these Cretaceous species, interlocked in combat, became entombed under a pile of sandstone. That was then . . . this is now
SHOPPING FOR LOVE IN THE WRONG PLACE
Burki v Seventy Thirty Ltd & Ors  EWHC 2151 (QB)
HHJ Richard Parkes QC:
Gertrude Stein quipped that whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop. This case is about a woman looking for romantic happiness who says she was tricked into shopping in the wrong place, paying a large sum to a dating agency which, she says, made promises but failed to produce the goods.
REFERENCE TO A POPULAR BEAT COMBO
And then the same case on appeal
Mr Justice Julian Knowles.
“I don’t care too much for money/
Money can’t buy me love”
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, Lennon-McCartney
SEND THEM TO THE TOWER
1. The parliamentarian Sir John Eliot met his end by way of microbe, rather than by the judicial axe. The cause of his demise, from consumption, in 1632 at the Tower of London was nonetheless oppression by the Crown.
His offence was that he spoke freely in Parliament. Sir John had found himself a member of Parliament at an unfortunate moment, of the sort which is sometimes the lot of people opposing forces larger than themselves. As in his case, it sometimes does not turn out well.
He had presented resolutions against illegal taxation, and other matters, which he read to the House. When interrogated, he asserted a right to rely on privilege against questioning what was said in Parliament. He was fined by the Lord Chief Justice for conspiracy to resist an order of the King and for refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the Court of King’s Bench, the predecessor of the court in which this judgment is given. (Sir John Eliot’s case, (1629) 3 St. Tr. 294, 3 Digest 326, 134.)
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).
BEST OPENING WORDS OF A JUDGMENT IN 2016
Mr Justice Gilbart in The Queen (on the application of David Dilner) -v- Sheffield City Council  EWHC 945 (Admin) encapsulates geography, history and economics in one paragraph.
Sheffield is one of the great cities of Northern England. Parts of it lie within the Peak District, which abuts its western aspect. It lies where several rivers and streams (the Rivers Don, Sheaf, Loxley, Rivelin, and Porter, Meers and Owler Brooks) flow eastwards off the Pennines. Many of its roads and streets (and especially in the suburbs running westwards and south-westwards from the City Centre) have trees planted along them, in the verges or other land within the highway. Like many of the great cities of the north of England, it suffered during the deindustrialisation of the late 20th Century and the financial stringency endured by local authorities over the last 30 years or more. The upkeep of its roads and streets were not immune to the testing climate that created for local authorities, and a backlog of maintenance developed.
BEST OPENING WORDS OF A JUDGMENT (OTHER JURISDICTIONS)
Mr Justice Max Barrett also encompasses history and economics in White -v- The Bar Council of Ireland  IEHC 283
” Was there ever, in our long national history, a financial mess to match the rise and demise of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’? These are yet another set of proceedings that appear, ostensibly at least, to spring ultimately from that financial fiasco and to show just how insidious our recent national bankruptcy has proven over time to be for so many people in so many walks of life. Mr White is a retired High Court judge. He claims that, thanks largely to cuts in salary and pension that he suffered following on the nation’s financial crisis of recent years, and faced with the cost of rearing a still-young family, he needs at this time to return to practice at the Bar as a member of the Law Library. He objects, however, to rule 5.2.1 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar Council of Ireland which prevents him, following retirement as a judge, from practising in a court of equal or lesser jurisdiction than the court in which he was a judge. His particular objection is that he was formerly a criminal defence barrister of no little eminence and he wishes now to return to this line of practice, which has its natural focus in the Circuit and High Courts – two courts in which he cannot practice by virtue of rule 5.2.1.”