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Why legal briefs should be kept... well, brief.

Alas, this is not a Scottish case, so I can't justifiably claim this post as one of my neglected series on Scots law. But I've just this minute come across it, and it's so good I had to share it with you lot. Which I have to do here since Tor and Camilla still don't have Facebook.

For those of you whose 16th-century English is a little rusty, I've provided a summary below.

FORASMUCH as it now appeared to this Court, by a report made by the now Lord Keeper, (being then Master of the Rolls,) upon consideration had of the plaintiff's replication, according to an order of the 7th of May anno 37th Reginæ, that the said replication doth amount to six score sheets of paper, and yet all the matter thereof which is pertinent might have been well contrived in sixteen sheets of paper, wherefore the plaintiff was appointed to be examined to find out who drew the same replication, and by whose advice it was done, to the end that the offender might, for example sake, not only be punished, but also be fined to Her Majesty for that offence; and that the defendant might have his charges sustained thereby; the execution of which order was, by a later order made by the late Lord Keeper the 26th of June, Anno 37th Reginæ, suspended, without any express cause shewed thereof in that order, and was never since called upou until the matter came to be heard, on Tuesday lost, before the now Lord Keeper; at which time some mention was again made of the same replication; and for that it now appeared to his Lordship, by the confession of Richard Mylward, alias Alexander, the plaintiff's son, that he the said Richard himself, did both draw, devise, and engross the same replication; and because his Lordship is of opinion that such an abuse is not in any sort to be tolerated, proceeding of a malicious purpose to increase the defendant's charge, and being fraught with much impertinent matter not fit for this Court; it is therefore ordered, that the Warden of the Fleet shall take the said Richard Mylward, alias Alexander, into his custody, and shall bring him into Westminster Hall, on Saturday next, about ten of the clock in the forenoon, and then and there shall cut a hole in the myddest of the same engrossed replication (which is delivered unto him for that purpose), and put the said Richard's head through the same hole, and so let the same replication hang about his shoulders, with the written side outward; and then, the same so hanging, shall lead the same Richard, bare headed and bare faced, round about Westminster Hall, whilst the Courts are sitting, and shall shew him at the bar of every of the three Courts within the Hall, and shall then take him back again to the Fleet, and keep him prisoner, until he shall have paid 10l. to Her Majesty for a fine, and 20 nobles to the defendant, for his costs in respect of the aforesaid abuse, which fine and costs are now adjudged and imposed upon him by this Court, for the abuse aforesaid.

Mylward v. Weldon [1595] EWHC Ch 1

A lawyer's submissions ran to a ridiculous 120 pages. As far as I can work out, his goal was to make the other side waste a fortune in legal fees, as the other lawyer would have to wade through it all. As a punishment, he was made to wear the 120 pages like a poncho, paraded round all the courtrooms so the other lawyers could see, and then fined and imprisoned.

It's a real shame that this has not, apparently, set a precedent.
Camilla, Are, Tor, Karoline likes this


Camilla,  28.10.11 06:59

At some point someone should reintroduce that. Is it too late to make it a precedent? I mean, is there a limitation if something is not taken up after a given number of years? I suppose the lack of such punishment is also a precedent which must be taken into account.

Also: Karoline, take heed.

Karoline,  29.10.11 12:11

Take what?
Camilla,  29.10.11 12:11

It was a reference to your recent ... verbosity?

Karoline,  29.10.11 15:55

Camilla, i skjønne ingenting. Ka faen betyr det du skriv til me?
Camilla,  29.10.11 16:05

Den var veldig lang.

Karoline,  29.10.11 18:39

Hahaha. Stemmer.
Tim,  31.10.11 16:12

"Take heed" betyr "hør til".
Camilla,  31.10.11 16:14

hør etter?