Friday, 29 July 2011

( In this civil law case, Bigot sued for breach of an implied term, one which required the club to send him a membership renewal form before the start of the next calendar year. Claiming that the club never sent him this document , Bigot was unable to renew his membership in time . This resulted in the committee taking the view that he had resigned from the club by his own act of omission. Forced then to re-apply as a new member, Bigot was completely taken back when his application was rejected. Although the plaintiff on this occasion, Bigot decided as usual to represent himself. In the following extract from the trial's transcript, we see Bigot questioning the club's recently appointed chairman, arch-enemy Percy Pantopod . )
B-J : Percy........ is it true to say I have been an active member for over 20 years ?
Percy : Yes....more is the pity
B-J : And in all those years did I renew my membership always on time .....everytime ?
Percy : Yes... more is the pity.................except of course for this year
B-J : So what happened to my renewal letter.... which I might add......... I never received ?
Percy : How the hell do I went out with all the others on the same day. And if by remote chance it failed to arrive on your doorstep, then you should have made immediate enquiries
B-J : Oh....but how was I to know it was never coming ? Anyway, did I not..... just before the closing date..... leave a cheque behind the bar for the correct subs amount
Percy : Yes....I do recall seeing that cheque, but without the renewal form it had no purpose or we simply ripped it up
B-J : You lot must think I'm stupid...... I know damn well you've set me up, but the law is on my side. The club is clearly in breach of contract for denying me my right and opportunity to renew my membership on time. For in contract law, non-performance.......being the non-delivery of the renewal letter..... is a serious matter. Moreover, my subsequent silence can never be construed as (a) proof that I received the renewal letter, or (b) proof that I intended to resign. Acts of omission are by definition completely ambiguous. Moreover my cheque behind the bar was clear proof of my intent to remain a member for another year.
Percy : Rules are rules....and you didn't renew your membership in there !
Judge : I've heard enough to realize that Bigot, despite being a pariah in this very social and friendly club...... a villian with the most appalling disciplinary record on record......has , in my view, been the victim of a stitch up. The subsequent rejection of his application to join as a new member suggests that this is clearly the case. It seems to me that the club has cleverly used the membership renewal rules to get rid of Bigot, without ever having to go through a long protracted disciplinary process........... which can of course be extremely tortuous, difficult and painful for all those involved. Consequently, I have no choice but to accept his argument that the club acted wrongly, and was in breach of contract. This means he is entitled to an appropriate remedy, being a decree of specific performance. Therefore, he must be reinstated as a member ...... with nothing to pay..... since he has already paid his subs by cheque.
Percy : We will appeal !
Bigot : Hold on..... what about some damages ?
Judge : There are none for the likes of you ....
B-J : Bugger...... I was hoping to refurbish my own bridge club from the proceeds of this masterful coup ....which only a genius like me could pull off.......ah well, at least I can still go to the Walnut Tree for an odd night or two of mischief making

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