Santa Claus is the judge
A satirical court judgment has brought to life the legal wranglings of two fairy tale superstars.
In the spoof case of Bear v Locks, the claimant,“Mr Bear”, is seeking damages from respondent “Ms Locks” for an incident that occurred at his property.
According to the realistic looking court document — drafted by judge “S. Claus” in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar — “Ms Locks is alleged to have trespassed on Mr Bear’s house, destroyed an armchair, ate a quantity of porridge and slept in the bed of Mr Bear’s son.”
The first task for the court is to establish whether Mr Bear, in his capacity as an animal, can bring legal action.
Lord Denning’s decision in Grenouille v National Union of Seamen, a fake judgment written by lawyer and journalist Marcel Berlins, is relied upon to show that Mr Bear can bring legal proceedings against Ms Locks. In this ‘case’ Denning granted injunctive relief to a frog to stop trade unionists picketing his pond.
The claimant’s barrister, “Faerie Counsell”, also references the recent (and real) High Court case of Mooson v HSBC Bank plc t/a First Direct (actually spelt Moosun, tut tut Santa!) Reported by Legal Cheek back in November 2015, the matter involved two dogs bringing legal action against banking giant HSBC and national law firm Shoosmiths.
With Claus ruling that Mr Bear can bring legal proceedings, the next matter for the court is how to notify Ms Locks — who is not present or represented — about Mr Bear’s claim. According to the judgment, the only known address for Ms Locks is a “far away country inhabited by people of whom we know nothing.” Continuing, Claus states:
I do not see that as being a problem at all. It is clearly a reference to Neville Chamberlain’s description of Czechoslovakia: see The Times, 28th September 1938 page 10. Accordingly I order that alternative service be affected by advertisement in one national newspaper in the Czech Republic and in one national newspaper in Slovakia.
Having overcome the issue of service, there’s the delicate matter of Claus’ expenses claim. Revealing that he has come a long way to hear this case, Claus “needed to know what the mileage rate payable by the Gibraltar Court Service was for a sleigh and reindeers”.
Hat tip to the anonymous Legal Cheek reader for submitting this legal gem!