Of the vast array of emotions whipped up by the Supreme Court hearing on the lawfulness of the government's proroguing of parliament, one event is guaranteed to strike fear in the hearts of lawyers across the UK: a mismatch in the numbering of court documents.
As Lord Pannick (for appellant Gina Miller) required to add +68 to each page reference when directing the 11 Supreme Court judges to relevant documents (demonstrating not only the ability to think on his feet, but also to count), litigators across the land cringed in sympathy and remembrance.
Almost a rite of passage for any court lawyer is to find yourself in the midst of presenting a well thought out and reasoned legal argument only to have your "ta dah!" moment completely spoiled by an exchange along the following lines:
Me: "In that regard, I refer to item 2/11 in your bundle my lord which is an email dated X."
His lordship: "You mean item 2/11 which is a letter dated Y?"
Me: "2/11 in my bundle is an email dated X, my lord"
His lordship: "Well, it isn't in mine. Do you mean 2/15 which is an email dated Z?"
Me: "No, my lord that is an entirely different email. It is an email dated X which is relevant here. I have a copy here if that assists my lord...?"
My lord: "No, I think I have it. It's wrongly numbered 2/19 in my bundle and is an email dated A"
Me: "Apologies my lord, but that is not the email I am referring to. It is email dated X to which I refer......."
And so the whirling vortex continues....by the conclusion of which everyone, including me, has forgotten why item 2/11 was critical to my submission anyway.
But it wouldn’t be the legal profession without a glitch along the way – and it came in the form of a bundles blunder, as justices struggled to locate documents marked up in a different way to those belonging to the lawyers in front of them.