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AN UNLIKELY TEXTBOOK FOR YOUNG LAWYERS

YOUNG LAWYERS
 

This is a book about life in a lawyer’s office and is written by a non-lawyer who did study Latin (and French) at high school.

It is fiction of course, apart from real law which is quoted now and then. Cyril and Ranichar, a young Indian from Fiji, are junior lawyers. Support staff – the legal secretaries – are Emily, Sharon and Carmen, all attractive young women, who have to take the young lawyers in hand from time to time and teach them the ropes of their jobs and the facts of life.

The senior partners are Mr Bunbury, Mr Wolfe and Mr Swindley, who together make up the firm, BWS Lawyers. Mr Bunbury is the CEO, known to the workers in the office as the slave driver. The other two partners spend as little time as possible in the office, preferring golf and racecourses, where they contend they pick up many clients. Of the two junior lawyers, Cyril still lives at home with his parents, a situation which causes much hilarity among the females in the office. Ranichar is a lodger at the home of Mr and Mrs Singh, proprietors of Singh’s No.1 Curry House.

Together they all become involved in the many legal problems that society throws at them. Real young lawyers are urged not to take this story literally. On the other hand they might find some gems of wisdom that may help carry them through their own early days.

The writer has spent twelve long years in a real legal office as a mature office assistant and several years as a justice of the peace, so has learnt everything from the ground up.

 

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ISBN:   978-1-921919-73-2
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 292
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Gordon E. Carr
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2013
Language: English

BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

Nobody Reads the Credits

Voyage of the Britannica

Adventures in Java... and other places

Temptation Island

Seize the Day…The Movie

An Australian Mining Tale…

The Last Great Challenge

 

PREFACE 

As an example of sheer obfuscation one only has to read a law book, or a book on law, or about law to be totally bewildered by what it all means. One has to come to the conclusion that this is deliberately done by practitioners of the law so that the so-called common man or ordinary person will have no idea about law, no understanding at all, so that solicitors and barristers can charge enormous fees. Although one can’t escape the feeling that they, too, at times have no idea what something means or is supposed to mean. A lawyer on one side can argue that black is white while the opposing counsel has irrefutable evidence that the opposite is the truth. That is why business contracts drawn up by lawyers have phrases setting out that a certain word means so and so and not something else. In the court, the bewildered and often bored judge or magistrate tries hard not to fall asleep as argument drones on and on.

Just to set the record straight, common law doesn’t mean it is common, not by a long chalk, and a tort isn’t a misspelling of tart. It is all most tiresome.

  

UTTER CONFUSION

‘Is there much chance of the ordinary citizen understanding anything at all about the law?’ wondered Cyril on a hot summer afternoon at college of law. It was the sort of day when most of the students sat in their places half asleep in the heat and almost totally turned off by the droning voice of the professor.

‘Ordinary citizens have little chance to obtain adequate information about case law, less chance for statutory law, and even less for codified statutory law. Admittedly, there’s a great deal of naiveté in the great national codifications, as well as in ancient codifications such as Justinian’s when it was thought possible to make law simple, clear, concise, complete, systematically organised and accessible to all.’

‘I don’t think it ever happened or is likely to happen,’ whispered Cyril to his neighbour. ‘I get more confused by the day about what it all means. I’ve been here listening to these lectures for months and months and every day it just gets worse and even less clear every new lecture.’

The professor continued: ‘Now, case law is casuistic, perhaps even casual, discontinuous, and to a large extent, dependent on the hazard of particular cases, so, even if case law is integrated with statutory law, the result might be a confused intermingling of, and frequent conflict between, different sources of law, enacted at different times, motivated by different aims and difficult to understand, to combine and reconcile. So you see, the repositories of case law are, as a rule, more extensive, expensive of course, and difficult to consult than codes and publicly enacted statutes. Any questions?’

‘Yes,’ said one almost cross-eyed listener groggily getting to his feet. ‘What the hell does all that mean, sir? Does it mean that everybody, even judges hearing cases, is confused about the whole holus-bolus of conflicting meanings and so forth of law as it is today?’ The student sank back into his seat and held his head in his hands.

‘Not at all, and as well, you have to understand that if the judicial nature of adjudication is not to be perverted, the judge is bound to procedural passivity. He is bound to procedural impartiality, neutrality and detachment. He has to be above the parties involved and is bound to procedural fairness in the sense that he has to guarantee that all the parties have a fair opportunity to be heard and to understand the meaning of the law in the sense of what particular law they are debating and at times he has to explain this. So, even if what I said earlier seems confusing to you, most judges can explain points of law as cases proceed.’

‘Probably lucky if the aforesaid judge had a full understanding himself about the meaning of the particular law under discussion,’ whispered another student. ‘What I need is a cold beer and not more case law or any other kind of law for the time being. Don’t think I can stand much more law talk or my head will explode.’

Luckily for him the day’s lecturing was almost over and his head was safe for the time being.

The professor concluded: ‘Judges should never lose sight of the weakness of lawmaking through the courts. Of course, it’s easy for them to object that statutory law, whether codified or not, is itself never complete, never unambiguous and never easily accessible to all, as I have already told you, and to restate. Accessing information is, in particular, an obstacle to full access to the law in every legal system, particularly for underprivileged people or groups. Yet, in all that, it’s a matter of degree. That brings us to the finish today and I hope you will all dwell on the matters raised this afternoon.’

There was a swelling sigh of relief but not a dwelling on the matters raised as the students rose in a body and made for the exits and freedom for the rest of the day.

 

Eventually, much to Cyril’s surprise and awe, he graduated from law college. It is appropriate to record that his various lecturers were amazed but also relieved to see the back of Cyril and his often, they thought, absolute lack of understanding of the glorious history of the law.

Not only did Cyril graduate, he also managed to obtain a post as a junior lawyer with the old-established and prominent law firm, Bunbury Wolfe Swindley. Cyril was soon to realise that all he had learned at law college was a trifle compared to work in the real world. It seemed to him that all those hours of lectures and study only scratched the surface. The hands-on, day-to-day work and problems in the office were entirely different. Cyril shuddered at the prospect that he might one day have to stand up in court before a stern judge or magistrate and learnedly quote sections of law which the judge would know far more about than himself and would pull him up sharply if he made a slip or an error, which he was always prone to do. He could imagine opposing lawyers seated and snickering behind their hands at his discomfiture.

However, long before that sort of elevated role could take place, his education continued daily within the walls of the firm.

 

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