Last month (23 January) Obiter raised the prospect of justice being conducted in a shed. We were behind the times. Andrew Stevenson of Rugby writes to tell us it has already happened. He recalls a heartwarming story of a client in dispute with the supplier of a garden shed bought to house an electric wheelchair.
The purchaser launched a DIY action seeking a refund of the purchase price, because it turned out to be the wrong sort of shed. He had been ordered by the district judge to produce the disputed invoice. Except that, owing to a typing error, the order was to produce the ‘item’.
‘A few days before the hearing date, the plaintiff instructed me,’ Stevenson says, ‘because, he said, he could not get the court to understand the difficulty of carting the shed to court on his wheelchair.’
In the end, the hearing took place in the shed: ‘The district judge sat on a dustbin.’ Of course the client had no case – he had got what he had paid for, Stevenson says. ‘It was equally obvious that the judge was reluctant to find against my client, given his unfortunate circumstances. Being in need of a shed, I broke the awkward silence by volunteering to buy the shed for the price paid by my client if the supplier (a thoroughly nice man) would deliver it to my home and agree no order for costs.
‘Ordered accordingly, by consent, much to the relief of the district judge.’
Has any other civil action ever concluded so satisfactorily for all involved? Suggestions, as ever, to firstname.lastname@example.org.