So yesterday I was in court. Cutting straight to the chase, it did not go well, I lost on all three grounds.
Do I agree with the decision [in law]…no I do not and will file an appeal.
The writing was on the wall almost immediately with the Judge [who is the Authority Member, but who I’ll simply refer to as the ‘Judge’] being very hard on the complainant, who was the witness. By the time she had finished with him, he was a very confused witness.
“Feel free to disagree with me if you feel that I am being unfair….”
” I disagree…”
“Really? Why? Be specific.”
These were not questions on the evidence, more questions on the law, which in a breach of contract case will be technical and sometimes quite subtle.
Anyway, we eventually got through his testimony relatively intact considering the intensity of the questions.
I had a chance to re-examine and bring the evidence back on track. Things went reasonably well until we came to an important word in the clause that the Judge had spent almost 15 mins of her time trying to elicit a very precise answer.
The word was ‘recurring’.
I had addressed this word at length in my submissions. It was a technical argument. I led the witness [without appearing to lead] through the definition that we wanted the court to construe the word in the contractual clause.
The Judge was not happy. She questioned me more specifically on the interpretation of the word and I provided her with the same example that I had used in my submissions.
She ‘hurrumphed” and said, “good luck with that!”
At that point, if any remaining doubt existed, I knew that this was going to be a long day.
The day continued with my cross examination questions to the respondent’s witnesses being answered largely by the Judge.
It concluded with an oral determination, read from a written determination, that she [the Judge] had prepared in 2.5 hrs.
No surprises, I lost all three grounds plead.
However, possibly due to the quickness of writing the determination, the legal arguments put forward were not strong reasons for dismissing the case. I will receive the written determination later today and carefully read the reasons provided.
If my initial reaction to yesterday’s oral determination remains unchanged, or changes for the worse, I shall file an appeal into the Employment Court on a point of law, rather than pursue a de novo hearing.