Saturday, July 15, 2006

Open Court Near Death Experience

I finally appeared in open court, before the Magistrate and all my brethren in law and an audience in the gallery. Yes, just like in Ally McBeal but with a less shocking hemline. I appeared for the Plaintiff in a Judgement Debtor Summons hearing.

What it means is that the creditor (my client) has obtained a judgement against the debtor (the defendant) earlier but the debtor still has not paid despite the court having ordered him to. So a JDS is a procedure by which the creditor’s lawyers cross-examine the debtor as to his ability to pay the judgement sum. Usually the debtor will come to court with some sob story about how his family is living below the poverty line and the court will order some sort of instalment arrangement.

I was nervous as hell yesterday with Monster Moths flying in formation and doing aerial flips in my gut. So I prepared for every eventuality (including what I would do if I was called a complete moron by the Magistrate).

The near insane and inane preparations did alleviate my fears and during my entire journey to Port Dickson I did not hurl or throw myself onto the railway tracks to save me from attending court.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I needed to wake up at 5 this morning to take two cabs and a train to journey 3 hours to get to court before 9 am to meet the debtor, strike a deal and obtain consent order from the judge.

I actually did not mess up my case and everything actually went quite smoothly.

At the end of a hearing, be it in chambers or in open court, the feeling I get right after it is over is one of huge relief. Relief that I was not thoroughly humiliated by the judge, that the utmost has been done for my client and that it is just OVER.

Then the niggling starts. Should I have asked for a higher settlement? Should I have asked for a later date? Should I have pushed the Registrar a little harder? Should I have paid more attention in Land Law?

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