Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Week 13: trial!

Sat on my first trial ever yesterday and today.

Which also happened to be the first trial ever of Nice Lawyer, whom I was accompanying.

That's not unusual in family law, though. People usually settle, and you might practise for two years before you actually have a real proper trial of your own. And it takes about a year to get a date for a trial.

It was a custody case. I was all prepared with my laptop to take notes, we had a pretty good judge, trial was set for about two days, judge was a bit surprised that it was going to take that long given that there were no other witnesses except the two parties.

One thing I noted was that witnesses don't sit. They just stand there, facing the judge, although there is a little bench thing that they can sit on, but they just stood there for an hour and a half and talked. 

Note to self: cut fingernails the day before going to court and taking notes on laptop. I was making a helluva lotta noise typing, and I could've sworn the judge was staring at me for a while. I never noticed before how loud I type...

We took a break around 11. Went off to lunch, back at 2pm, and the parties tried to work things out.

Meanwhile, I was sent off to find a judgement by a Judge Maun, or Mann, that our judge mentioned but nobody quite understood the name and nobody wanted to ask the judge to repeat it.

Go off to floor 11, realize it's the wrong floor, trying to remember the floor the library is on, think it's 19, but then there's no floor 19, stops at 17, so I guess must be 17, get off at 17, run around in the halls because disoriented by the elevator's placement, find the CAIJ, chip card to enter, chip card for turnstile, grab a computer, log into CanLii to search caselaw...

ok now what... who was the judge?

GB Mann, nobody with that name. Whip up the Google-fu. Judge mentioned he died in 2000, so the ruling must be from 1998, 1999. Google judge superior court deceased 2000, somehow come across this bio, no idea what search terms and cannot replicate results, but at least I've got the name of a judge that sounds about right and it's Maughan.

Somehow I find the reference to the case, which is a "Droit de la famille 3213", which as it happens doesn't turn up in search. I want to try another database, I know the CAIJ has free access to paid ones, except I don't know how to access them. There are usually research assistants there to help you, but this happens to be lunch time, so their offices are all empty.

I finally manage to find one in an office at the very end of the hall, learn how to access the databases, find out how to charge my chip card, printing is 30 cents a page. Ugh.

Print, run down, find everyone discussing, trying to come up with an agreement, hand over the document, lawyer reads, find out it's not much use after all.

Oh well.

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