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Justice done, justice undone

A so-called efficiency trial at Richard Barr's ?new combined court turns out to be worse ?than Ted Heath's three-day week

14 October 2013

The light went out again. It was winter and the little bulb hanging above my head provided barely enough illumination for me to read. It was late afternoon. There was never much light from the only window in the room, but what little there had been was gone.

The year was 1973. There were coalmines then, but the miners were on strike. The country was, at least according to Edward Heath (the dullest prime minister in living memory), being held to ransom. His response was to declare a three-day week that, as we shall see in a moment, was considerably better than the no-day week imposed on the people of Norfolk by the ?Court Service.

I had been qualified only for a couple of years and had been (in the manner of a convict being deported to Australia) sent to run the newly opened branch office which consisted of three rooms, one above the other behind a building society and sandwiched between a tattoo

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