And so to the latest of many breaths of fresh air from judicial über-moderniser Sir Rupert Jackson, whose reforms have a significant birthday this week.
‘Litigation is a process, not an Eleusinian mystery,’ Sir Rupert used the anniversary to say. Thus he thoroughly debunks the myth that senior members of the judiciary only use Latin references for in-jokes and when trying to sound clever – in fact, as he proves, ancient Greece is also referenced.
But, Obiter wonders, is he right? Might the far-reaching reforms of civil justice in fact be just like the Eleusinian mysteries? Certainly the myth on which the initiation ceremonies are based makes bits of the post-LASPO Civil Procedure Rules sound a bit, well, derivative.
The myth, as any fule kno’, kicks off with a multi-jurisdictional custody battle in which earth goddess Demeter, unsupported by public funds, attempts to reclaim custody of her daughter. Compelled to put some ‘skin in the game’ to progress things, Demeter takes on responsibilities that are beyond her competence, in this case raising the queen’s son.
What looked like a cost-saving backfires dramatically when the boy gets neither the promised immortality nor permanent youth (meddling from on high is the cause).
Things having gone on for quite long enough, proportionality prevents any sort of all-round restitution.
The initiations based on the myth then sort of tail off with everyone taking a (cold) ritual bath followed by three days of reduced experts fees and irrecoverable costs… or was that fasting? Anyway, all for some kind of long-term benefit that’s not immediately tangible.
Truly, Obiter says, in the future, we’ll look back and think it ‘absurd’ we did things any other way.