22 October 2007

Rumpole and the Car Park

judgeWhen I good friends was called to the bar... I never imagined I'd be adjudicating parking disputes."

One can easily imagine Chief Justice Derek Green being somewhat chagrined as he dutifully took the submissions of the High Sheriff of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Registrar of the Supreme Court and rendered a 14 page decision over parking spaces at the court house in St. John's.

The application made by the Sheriff sought a variance in a 2004 order on the use of court parking spaces on the Water Street side of the court house. The Sheriff was looking for two parking spaces in the lot which is controlled by the Registrar. The dispute apparently involved Sheriff's officials and others who took to parking in the spaces in such a way as to block access to some of the spaces in the overcrowded and over-permitted space.

After a recapitulation of the entire situation, the Chief Justice issued a simple order, amounting to granting two spaces to the Sheriff's officials.
[34] There is no basis for continuing the injunctive order against the two officials of the Office of the High Sheriff designated by the High Sheriff as needing access to parking on the Water Street lot. Accordingly, I will make the following order and declaration:
1. The Interim Order (Ex Parte) made on March 17, 2004 is hereby varied by adding an additional paragraph as follows:
5. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Order, it shall not apply to two persons employed in the Office of the High Sheriff and designated in writing by him from time to time as eligible to apply to the Registrar for a permit to park on the Parking Lot
2. It is declared that the Registrar has the discretion:
(a) to issue permits to park on the Parking Lot to the two persons designated by the High Sheriff pursuant to paragraph 5 of the amended order, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be appropriate to promote the overall effective and efficient use of the parking lot for the benefit of all users; and
(b) to revoke any such permits from time to time or to impose revised conditions and restrictions thereon as circumstances may dictate.
Considering the valuable time of the courts and the costs involved by all parties, including the time of the Chief Justice, surely it was possible that this matter might have been resolved more amicably, less tediously and in a far less costly way than this.

Horace would not be amused.