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By the way | Pre-trials and tribulations

Catherine Burtinshaw dodges the firing line of a cantankerous judge in a particularly prickly pre-trial hearing

22 May 2013

I had a fairly innocuous-looking diary entry one day last week, being a pre-trial review hearing to take place by telephone at a remote court which I shall not name. The trial is due to take place next month, but lay witness evidence had only just been exchanged and the case has generally been subject to a surprisingly rapid timetable.

I came into work on the morning of the hearing and immediately ensconced myself in a pre-booked meeting room, where I fully prepared away from the general hustle and bustle of an open plan office environment. My previous experience of this particular court is that its judges are formidable and tend not to suffer fools, aka legal representatives who are not sufficiently familiar with the facts of their case.

BT called a few minutes before kick-off and advised me that counsel for one of the other parties was already on the line. If I may pause there, I have never understood why, particularly when such a hearing is to take place by teleph...

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