High Noon at the High Court

Barrister in the High Court in the UK

Not very many people have experienced a High Court battle. As an observer with skin in the game, I can tell you that it is not for the faint-hearted or something to be taken lightly. I don’t understand why anyone would willingly choose to put themselves through a High Court case. Once a person has been sued if the person who sued them is determined to have their day in court and is not open to mediation they have absolutely no control over the process from that day forward. They must defend themselves no matter what the personal or financial cost and the only choice they are left with is how they are going to defend themselves.

I have been on a jury case in a District court so I had some idea of what to expect but our High Court case is Judge only so the focus is quite different. Both sides have only one person to convince. Another difference is that instead of experienced Barristers doing battle on behalf of their clients we have a self-represented person assisted by a Mackenzie friend versus a legal team of two representing their clients.

I had wondered how a person can call themselves as a witness when they are self-representing. Would they sit in the witness-box asking themselves questions? The reality in our case was that the self-represented person sat in the witness-box and for the entire day and part of the next day read from what I guess is their witness statement although I think there is another term to describe it.

I take my hat off to the judge who has to listen to everyone. The concentration that is required is immense. I don’t understand how he manages to not squirm in his seat, yawn or sneak a mint. I am constantly moving in my chair, stretching my legs, yawning, whispering to supporters about points of interest, rolling my eyes, sniggering and giving the death stare when appropriate.

Unlike T.V shows there is no showmanship, drama or raised voices. It is a calm, measured march through points of evidence in an orderly and unruffled fashion. Throughout the day other barristers have dropped in to watch our case. Apparently, it is an unusual case and one that has attracted a lot of interest.

I would like to take the time to publicly thank all the Whaleoil supporters who have popped in over the past three days to keep us company and to provide moral support. It is going to be a long and tedious three weeks but having people visit has been a highlight for me.

My click-bait headline is High Noon at the High Court but the reality is that it is more like High Tea.


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