Here comes another report of a small-claims Court case being adjourned for the second time.
The Judge and his Court were present-and-correct. However, the two parties, one a litigant-in-person, the other with a legal representative, were like those unfortunates at the start of Casablanca:
the others wait … — and wait — and wait — and wait…
After four hours it became clear that the Judge would have to truncate the day’s business. Several cases, including the one that has come to Malcolm’s attention, were further adjourned. A fair number of decent folk had foregone yet another day’s work in the hope of being heard and their grievance addressed.
The Judge had the good grace to apologise. He explained what was happening. He was the only Judge available. The Court’s activities were being curtailed by government-imposed cuts.
That is not the fault of the present ConDem administration. Yet they are threatening to constrain justice even further. 103 magistrates’ and 54 county courts are to be axed to save £15.3m a year and £21.5m of maintenance costs. Even the new Supreme Court is to do justice on the cheap. The previous budget 0f £13.8 million was to be trimmed by a further million, with more to be subtracted by the October review.