The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's In A Name?

Lawyers are in the habit of using the name of a case to identify a particular bit of law, and even at our local summary level we are all familiar with the names of Turnbull, Galbraith, and other long-forgotten people that have become embedded in our day to day business.
I have just cleared out a few old files, and one of them included the papers for an Environment Agency prosecution against a well-known large company, among them the case summary and the so-called "Friskies' schedule of aggravation and mitigation".
I remember that this made me sit up at the time, as I do not usually come across leading brands of pet food in my court sittings. The whole case was conducted in a genteel manner, as the pleas were guilty, Counsel for the parties had pretty much agreed everything beforehand, the papers and submissions were impeccably prepared, and all that we had to do was set a fine - even the costs had been agreed in advance.
When it came to the fine we were handed the report of HHJ McDowall's sentencing remarks in the case of Environment Agency v Pizza Express in the Crown Court, which pretty much did the job for us, being admirably clear and well-reasoned. So between the catfood and the pizzas we were guided to an appropriate sentence, and after elaborate courtesy from Counsel we allowed 28 days to pay, and popped out for a cup of tea.
I never expected the job to include catfood when I started twenty years ago.