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Today I looked into another courtroom and spotted TheBusker.  He always seems particularly relaxed, almost to the point of seeming a little spaced on occasion.  Today was no exception and this was exacerbated by the fact that he was against TheCreep.  Never could there have been two such different styles.  It was a building dispute and TheBusker was representing the dodgy building contractors.  TheCreep had some particularly needy clients and this was exacerbated by his own stressed out manner.  It started early on when TheCreep tried to have the argument out with TheBusker in the robing room.

“I’m going to be asking for your Defence to be struck out as it doesn’t comply with the Practice Direction.”

“No worries my friend, you can apply for what you like.”

“Yes, but do you agree that it doesn’t comply?”

“Sorry [Creep].  You’re acting as though you think I might care.”

“Yes, but how are you going to answer it?”

“Oh.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

The more stressed TheCreep became, the more laid back was TheBusker.  He had no notes and came across very much as if he’d only just read the papers on the train there (well, I saw him do it).  However, it was only when we got into court that I realised how he had prospered at the Bar for so long despite (or perhaps because) of his approach.

“Your Honour, the Defence fails to comply with the Practice Direction and should be struck out, plain and simple.  Unfortunately, M’Learned Friend has not provided me with an answer to this point…”  He then set it out in characteristic length for the next twenty minutes.

To which TheBusker simply got up and said, “Your Honour.  We’re not here today to argue pleading points.  We know that, you know that and I’m afraid to suggest that even M’Learned Friend might know that too.”  Without even addressing the substance of the argument he sat down and smiled at TheCreep.

The Judge then spent the next half an hour addressing all of TheCreep’s arguments before concluding in almost exactly the same terms as the submissions of TheBusker.

The same applied during the hearing.  TheCreep busily scribbling notes galore.  Occasionally shaking his head or sighing to himself somewhat loudly.  TheBusker on the other hand didn’t make a single note.  In fact he sat back in his chair with his hands behind his head for much of the hearing staring at each of the Claimant’s witnesses.  Watching how they gave their evidence.  Looking for a chink or foible in their character.  Then he’d get up and ever so gently ask them questions which didn’t even seem to be relevant but which resulted in each of them being tripped up in one form or another.  As for his closing submissions, they were again brief.

“Your Honour.  It’s clear the building work wasn’t perfect.  We’d be the first to admit to that.  In fact we’d go so far as to express our regret in that respect.  However, nor was it sufficiently imperfect to be classified as negligence.  M’Learned Friend has, quite properly I may say, made a lot of points today but, with respect, it was nitpicking.  Thankfully, Your Honour, we do not yet live in a world where nitpickers rule the roost nor where courts of law award them damages.”  After which he sat down and TheCreep’s case was done for.

Despite the fact that he’s in the same Chambers, TheCreep went off in a sulk after the case and sat in a different train carriage on the way back.

I do like TheBusker.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan. You can buy the latest BabyBarista novel, 'Law and Peace' on Amazon. The cartoons are by Alex Williams, author of The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus.