Saturday, February 27, 2010

Professional Discourtesy's

In Family Law it is a standing joke among Fathers how badly documents are served upon individuals.  In Civil Law it is called "Proof of Service".   But really it is treated as an afterthought in many cases - especially "Case Management" where strict rules of court are not observed but "managed" between the Judge and Lawyer or Self-Represented Applicant/Litigant (aka SRL).

Often Fathers never receives any proper legal notices before actions are taken (especially under "Ex-Parte" hearings) or finds them in your court file well after the event.  This goes along with other "Professional Discourtesies" used by Lawyers with unsuspecting  SRL's such as providing an affidavit in the court-room at the last minute to confound the ability to respond.

In this regard I was pleased to find a Review of these Rules of Civil Court at the UK Minister of Justice website dated Sept 2007 and entitled Review of Part 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules: Service of Documents.   Results of that Consultation were published in March 2008.

Another interesting fact of British Justice is that the Law Society of England and Wales is not "self-regulated" - rather it is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) - which investigates complaints and is governed by lawyers, judges and laypersons.

Also, the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) investigates complaints about Judges, Magistrates or Tribunals. Here is how they describe their creation:

Following the implementation of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the OJC became the sole regulatory body responsible for the investigation of matters of personal conduct and behaviour relating to judicial office-holders. Prior to the OJC being established, members of the general public could write to the Lord Chancellor or to the Judicial Correspondence Unit; however, the way the complaint was dealt with was not open or transparent, and unless requested to do so, no advice was given to complainants on how to complain.
The OJC still receives a large number of complaints relating to the judicial decision or judicial case management functions of judicial office-holders. These are matters that do not fall within our remit. As the judiciary is independent, complaints relating to dissatisfaction with a judicial decision or the way in which a case was managed, can only be made via the courts, by way of an appeal, dependent on any independent legal advice that the complainant may receive. The OJC tries to inform complainants, at the earliest possible opportunity, that these matters cannot be investigated. 
All of these items seem like good idea's to pursue.

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