Friday, June 6, 2008

The Day in Court

So this week has been really hectic yet interesting, certainly the busiest by far, it's still a little surreal. That kind of slightly breathless feeling one gets when everything seems to whizz by and one is left a little disoriented. Or perhaps its the lack of sleep and copious amounts of coffee and tidbits the seccie has been plying me with.

But I certainly never envisaged myself having to hold the fort against weepy clients, get a DIY crash course on PPO proceedings, go for my first hearing in chambers and make submissions in open court by the second week from call, let alone in the span of a week. Everything went by in a blur which is good I guess, gives you less time and opportunity to freak out.

The PPO hearing was totally unexpected, I'd been expecting the contested custody hearing in 2 weeks time, time enough to get the affidavits and relevant plans out, etc, so it was kind of a shocker to get a call from the client whose file I'd just taken over from the departing partner and learn that an EO and PPO had been taken out against the client and her mother by her psycho husband and was up for hearing in 2 days.

It didn't exactly help that no one left had ever done a contested PPO hearing. It was strange blundering about, figuring out what the procedures were and then deciding on impulse to do brief submissions with a semi-proper bundle of authorities even though it was strictly speaking a mentions stage in open court but with the ability to raise issues.

To cut to the chase, I thought I was late when I arrived, being 20 mins past the scheduled time but thankfully as is usually the case for Sub and Family court (but not Supreme Court) the judge was later. The start was almost an anti-climax, yours truly was nodding off when the summons number and names of parties were called. So after the usual formalities were dispensed with I first obtained leave to make the brief submissions then referred the judge to the relevant subs and the bundle of documents and wanted to launch into the oral submission. But he indicated that he wished to read the subs first.

Whereupon the usual background titter amongst the lawyers and the odd person in the gallery immediately died down. Which made for an awkward 10 mins or so as the judge read thru the subs and flipped through the tabbed documents and I kept alternating my line of sight between my own set of documents and the judge, just to get some indication of when he was done. After a while, my neck started to ache and I settled for staring at some non-discript white panel a little above his head.

Still that strange silence was a little unsettling and as I noticed the female Sikh lawyer beside me looking up from time to time and smiling, I just leaned over on impulse," People hardly ever make brief submissions at this sort of mentions eh?" Whereupon she smiled and said,"Yeah, I don't think I've ever seen it being done at this stage. Certainly not with documents and written subs." Smile. "You representing that little old lady and petite one beside her?" she asked. "Yep, client's psycho husband took out the EOs against them, it's crazy and he's the one harrassing them." " I can see that, oh he's the husband, he's got quite the reputation (cuz the bugger was discharged by all three previous lawyers) " Smile.

It was strange having such a tete a tete in the middle of the proceeding, with the judge reading the subs and us talking in muted tones, it was almost like being in school, sneaking a moment to chit chat with one's classmate while the teacher was pre-occupied. Though here the rest of the "classmates" were old birds and I think I was the only one younger than 35.

So again to cut a long story short cuz i'm damn tired, the oral submissions itself was strangely relaxed, certainly no where like that moot session as year one students, where making a case to the teacher 'judges' with one's back facing the students, had me feeling like a nervous wreck, my knees feeling like they would give way any moment.

So at the end the Judge basically said while the case was convincing, he could not deny an extension of EO just based on evidence that was untested in a trial and unless the guy's complaint is so incredible and spurious, he would have to give the madman the benefit of the doubt till the actual trial. though he did state that the EO would not be held against my client nor would it be taken into account at trial.

With that, Judge adjourned the next mention to a later date as the sod said he would be getting a lawyer to represent him and gave further directions. The lawyers beside me were surprisingly friendly thereafter, enquiring about a partner, etc. On hindsight, the submissions wasn't necessary but still i'm glad in a way i did it, rather than just the standard YH, I have just been instructed, requesting XX weeks adjournment to file YYY.

And so now I've been instructed to attend a mediation session and present client's agenda all by my lonesome self. Ah well, hope it goes decently well. Ok shag gonna head to bed cuz tml's client is a #$%^ bed of @#$% roses. They and their It's urgent-you are-only-working on-one(my)-file-draft-4-letters-by afternoon-u got court?-fuck u kind of urgent. bah. Well i get my revenge billing em to the high heavens. F. You.


sinlady said...

F U to your fecking clients??? haha but i so get it.

Aelgtoer said...

Ha ha I was tired at thatr time, I couldn't even understand a couple of lines from my last para. But yep u get the drift. Some clients really deserve to be shot.

Jonathan said...

Glad to read that you survived your day in court - and pretty well too, from the sound of things .....

Yeah, we all have those clients from hell - sometimes i want to tell them, if i can get 800K worth of billings from you each year, then maybe you can be my only client - but is it worth the aggro to be at their beck and call??