Ok, so maybe Shakespeare was going a little too far, but just now I'm not so sure. This morning I attended the intentionally phallic edifice pictured on the right in response to a rather nasty summons received a while back. It’s the “new” NSW Supreme Court: a building constructed as a result of the State Government’s decision “that the Supreme Court should be accommodated in a modern court house, under one roof instead of being spread, as it was, through a series of separate buildings, ill-fitted to the work and the dignity of the Court.” No, I haven't made that up: it’s lifted dirctly from their website. So stop laughing; they’re serious.
This “work and dignity” notwithstanding, on my scale of favourite activities appearing in court ranks somewhere between having my teeth filed to points and discussing astrology with people I mustn’t offend. Not that I was on trial for anything: it was a civil matter (people arguing about money), and while it would be contempt of court for me to describe the whole affair as rubbish, the word does keep springing into my mind. Along with some other more graphic expressions best kept to myself.
Things ended almost as I’d hoped they might: everyone agreed none of the companies involved in this mess (it was purely a business matter) owes anyone anything, and claims to the contrary were dismissed as garbage. Now the only remaining problem is deciding who should pay for the time wasted in deciding this was all a waste of time. Which was resolved in uniquely legal manner: it was decreed everyone must return in two weeks and waste more time.
Surely there’s got to be a better way? I’m certainly not advocating sharia law, or anything involving spiky balls attached to long chains, but can there really not be any better way of resolving disputes? And why does everyone have to wait around all day until it’s their turn to be heard? If garbage collectors and body piercers can work to a timetable, why can’t judges?
Or does asking questions like these pose a threat to somebody’s “work and dignity”?