Martin, in this case agrees to buy 40,000 gallons of oil from Phillip's company so he has the means to power his machine tools in his factory in fulfilling a customer's order. However Martin is let down by Phillip at the last minute, as a consequence Martin loses business worth 150,000. We can see this is a private matter and therefore will be dealt with accordingly in the High court. Over the past 30 years a number of criticisms have been made of the civil process, these criticisms have resulted in a number of reforms to the system that has improved it considerably.
The criticisms put forward were in the High courts it would sometimes take up to two and a half years for a case to come to court, in the county courts it took six months. Due, to the most part to, complex pre-trial process and documentation, in short, beaurocratic red tape in order to make money through the legal process. The traditional high cost of the process deterred people from going to court and pursuing cases. Barristers, good ones anyway, are very expensive and in the superior courts the fees are very expensive mainly due to the high salary of the judges (to avoid bribery).
Legal aid is available but from middle-income earners contributions were required. Civil legal aid was introduced inn 1949- the health service of the law provides funding for individuals who go to court when they haven't the financial means. Many of the criticisms of the legal aid system led to the reform by the Access to Justice Act 1999. The reformation served to determine which court was appropriate, but the complexity of the proceedings was also important.
The Court and Legal Services Act 1990 made waiting for cases to come to court considerably more quicker, 15 months at the High Court and three months at the County court. The Court and Legal Services Act 1990 allows solicitors to apply for right of audience in the superior courts. The added competition for barristers will hopefully bring down fees and costs- not many solicitors have yet applied. District judges are now employed on much lower salaries than County and High court judges. The system at large is now more rapid, a by-product of this is that it now costs less.
One drawback is, the reformation has not eliminated the cost to the applicant. Martin has the right to sue Phillip's company for breach of contract. Even though there is nothing to point to a contract existing, business agreements are presumed to be legally binding. This is a liquidated claim of 150,000 , it will be referred to the multi-track in the High court because it is over i?? 15,000. In Martin's case he will not be entitled to legal aid, as this is a business matter. Time in this case is regarded as being of
the essence. Thus a party did not perform on time, so he cannot enforce the contract against the other party. Sec. 41 Law of Property Act 1925 modified this common law rule by providing that the equitable principle shall prevail with the result that if time is not of the essence, a right to damages accrues but not a right to terminate the contract. In equity time, is not regarded as being of the essence, except in three circumstances: A) The contract expressly states that time is of the essence,
B) Time was made of the essence by the giving of notice (during the currency of the contract) to perform within a reasonable time. C) Where from the nature of the surrounding circumstances or from the subject matter of the contract it is clear that time is of the essence. In Startup v M'Donald7 the plaintiffs agreed to sell 10 tons of oil to the defendant and to deliver it to him 'within the last 14 days of March', payment to be in cash at the end of that period. Delivery was tendered at 8. 30pm on 31 March.
The defendant refused to accept or pay for the goods because of the late hour. The court held that the tender was equivalent to performance and the plaintiffs were entitled to recover damages for non-acceptance. Today note s29 (5) Sale of Goods Act 1979 stipulates: Demand or tender of delivery may be treated as ineffectual unless made at a reasonable hour; and what is a reasonable hour is a question of fact. Martin will win this case, but the damages he will receive will be decided by the court.
Theft carries a maximum sentence of seven years. 3 Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 4 Plaintiff has, in recent years been abrogated with claimant. 5 Birmingham six, Guilford four and Cardiff four are only a few cases during the last century of gross miscarriages of justice. 6 The system will no be altered, as barristers will lose out. The 'bar' has a substantial representation in Parliament who will make sure the system remains as it is.