Friday, July 08, 2005

Late Listing

I discovered late last night that one of my cases had been listed at a London Crown Court for today. The system of scheduling cases in Crown Courts is generally very chaotic because they will usually warn you that a case will be heard for trial during a certain working week, but then you get notified the afternoon before the trial starts. So if I knew a case could come up for trial I might get a phone call from the Crown Court at 3.30 pm on one day, and the case will be scheduled to start the following day at 10.00 am.

Even worse is when your case just gets listed for a hearing the next day without any warning!
My office shut yesterday at 4.00 pm due to the bombs in London. I did not get a phone call telling me that the case I am talking about was to be scheduled for a mention hearing today. Being the conscientious soul that I am I checked the internet to see if the case had been listed - and it had. The time was about 8.00 pm. Fortunately the barrister whom I had instructed on this matter works in a chambers that I send a lot of work to, and I know one of the main Clerks mobile phone number. I gave him a call and fortunately he had seen the listing and had arranged for the barrister to be there. Phew I thought.

As I had no appointments for today I then decided I better attend at the hearing to assist Counsel as it would be very difficult to get someone else from my office to cover the hearing. So far so good.

Before I left my home early this morning I double checked the listing for the case and then noticed that the Defendant was required to attend. Now that was not a problem because the Client is currently in custody so he will be brought to Court by Premier Prison Services (now there is a contradiction if ever I have heard of one). The problem with this case is that the particular London Crown Court that I am talking about has a policy that they pay for, but solicitors must book, interpreters to attend at Court.

Where do I find a Vietnamese interpreter at 7.30 am in the morning? Well I haven't found one yet and my Client is not going to understand a word of the hearing.

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