Friday, 17 April 2015

Ramblings through Leafy St Lawrence and elsewhere

The Poetic Bailiff

“In deep and leafy St Lawrence, above the Millbrook reservoir, La Ruelle de St Clair winds its harmless way down from Le Mont Cochon to Waterworks Valley. Unfortunately, in this quiet and peaceful part of the Island a dispute between neighbours which has been rumbling for many years has erupted into litigation which, had there been any sensible efforts made at compromise, ought to have been capable of being settled without access to the Court becoming necessary.”“

“We have not, of course, seen any without prejudice correspondence which has passed between the parties or their lawyers; but what we are left with is in essence a plaintiff sitting on what she perceives to be her legal rights as a result of which her immediate neighbours have not been able to enjoy the occupation of a property which they acquired, apparently in good faith and ignorant of the potential for conflict that lay round the corner.”

William Bailhache, displaying an unusually poetic turn of phrase in the introduction to this Court case which is in the public domain in the list of Royal Court Judgements. I rather like that; it makes a change to the usual dry preambles of a Court judgement.

The rest of the judgement is rather technical, and all is about contracts and boundaries, the grist to the Jersey legal system, and would probably bore the reader; it does show, however, nice clarity in the thinking behind the judgement. The good thing about most judgements like this is that the reasoning is laid out like the workings in mathematics. It may be hard at times to follow, but it can be followed.

Maybe next time, the judgement will be delivered in rhyme. Who can tell?

On boundaries, voisinage, and contract law
There's many a vintage legal saw
And legal eagles cast sharp eyes
As neighbours give despairing sighs

Double, Double, Liberate us from Trouble

“The budget for this year's Liberation Day events in Jersey has nearly doubled. The original £90,000 has now grown to £165,000. That is because Occupation survivors asked for a change in plans. They weren't happy that all the day's activity were based in People's Park so the celebrations are now spread across two sites.” CTV

There is more at Liberation Square, but not a huge amount more, and it has to be asked exactly how these events are budgeted, and if there is a breakdown of costs. Of course sound equipment, if it is installed in two places, can be significant, and I suppose transport for the dignitaries from one place to another costs, but it still seems excessive. Rather like witchcraft!

Will they publish accounts giving sufficient breakdown so we can see exactly what proportion relates to the Liberation square site, and what it is for? Or will we get a “Yes Minister” set of accounts?

Jim Hacker: All these payments have been identified.
Journalist: What as?
Jim Hacker: Commission fees, administrative overheads.
Sir Humphrey: - Operative costs, managerial surcharges.
Jim Hacker: Expenses, miscellaneous outgoings.

Stand and Deliver

“Drivers could face up to ten years in prison for causing death by careless driving as ministers move to close a loophole that allowed a man to get off with a £750 fine and a 12-month driving ban after a crash that killed a young woman. Transport Minister Eddie Noel wants to introduce a whole set of new offences covering causing death or serious injury while driving carelessly, dangerously, or under the influence of drink or drugs.” (Bailliwick Express)

I asked Eddie Noel at the end of March whether anything would happen, quoting the JEP of 17 December 2014 which noted: "JERSEY could have a death-by-careless-driving law as early as next year, according to the manager of transport policy in the Island."

I was looking at proposed changes to laws which came up in 2014 for bringing forth in 2015, and seeing how they are progressing. The absence of a provision for death by careless driving is a significant gap in our legislation, and I wondered when it was likely to be on the Statute books, and if there was a deadline that was being aimed for.

Eddie told me that he was waiting for advice from the law officers, but it would be progressed soon, and he has now moved the process to the public domain.

“Transport Minister Eddie Noel said that that he wanted to get draft legislation in front of the States as soon as possible to get the law change through. He said: ‘I am pleased that law drafting process can now start and I know everyone will be working to get draft legislation for States debate as soon as possible’”

We haven’t got an exact timetable yet, but it is clear things are moving. Eddie isn’t letting things slip, and credit where it is due. I’ll be keeping a watching brief, though, to make sure things it doesn’t get forgotten, but so far, very good.

It would be good to see some progress on a few other matters from his fellow Ministers:

Andrew Green - The options for the new hospital - note the April or May timetable

“The hospital site (and Kensington Place) remain one option, as does developing Overdale, but he was waiting for the feasibility study to come back to him, hopefully this week, on the costs of the different options. The next stage would be public consultation, probably in April or May, and also probably involving some meetings in the Parishes, and if lucky, the States might actually debate the preferred solution in July. (told to me by the Minister at the Consultation Evening at Communicare in March)

Rod Bryans - The options for Les Quennevais School - and a week has certainly gone by.

“Property Holdings are providing a feasibility study which should be out within a week, and following this there would be a public consultation on the options at Communicare, a vote in the States, and the development of the option chosen, which should take between 2 – 3 years to complete.” (told to me by the Minister at the Consultation Evening at Communicare in March)

And I hope the new Street Works Law is on target - for the final time - for January 2016 at the latest. See here for a saga of delays…over years and years.

Before January 2016, it has been promised to Kevin Lewis for January 2015! Shades of Yes Minister, which is recommended viewing for all aspiring politicians:

Sir Humphrey Appleby: When Ministers have gone, we can wipe the slate clean and start again with a new boy.

And of course, Eddie Noel, is the new Minister for TTS. But Yes Minister is fiction, isn't it? Something like that could not happen in real life, surely?

1 comment:

James said...

The budget for this year's Liberation Day events in Jersey has nearly doubled. The original £90,000 has now grown to £165,000.

So... who's going to be brave enough to name this as a scandalous waste of taxpayers' money?