Thursday, May 6

When judges say legal system incomprehensible, you are in trouble

Thanks to the lovely politicians in our midst, we have ended up with a shocking number of 2,629 laws per year over the past three prime ministers (both Labour and Conservatives). I quote some joys:

A new government should call a halt to the “torrent” of legislation that has made the legal system incomprehensible to judges and the public alike, a senior judge has said.

Judge Charles Harris, QC, president of the 600-strong Council of Circuit Judges, told The Times that the criminal law had become so complex that judges had to have it explained to them by academic experts.

As for the civil law, that was so complicated that some laws were “completely beyond the grasp of people to whom they apply”.

“Law which is not readily comprehensive is unfair law, because those to whom it applies have to spend time, money and anxiety in finding out by litigation what their obligations are.”

Is this what the country has been reduced to? Something that we are unable to even comprehend? Forget about the common man, even judges are not able to understand the laws. But more importantly, when the common man does not understand laws, how can you ask them to obey them?

“Some substantive civil law is so complex that it is wholly inaccessible to the laymen to whom it applies and not much easier to understand for lawyers.”

One example were the consumer credit laws, he said. “Academics graze contented in its thickets, while the people to whom the law applies have no choice but to sign contracts which they do not understand.”

As for the criminal laws, the editor of Archbold, the criminal law compendium, had described its state as a “disgrace”.

And this is slowly further strangling job creation, productivity growth, artistic freedom and and and because the crucial third pillar of society is just becoming so convoluted and complex that it simply is no longer fit for purpose.

This is why I like what the tories have proposed, to create a bonfire of all the useless and crappy laws that have accreted over the past so many years.

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