Legal process by its very nature cannot be swift; step by step, it must be steady and sure and this takes time. There is no room for hasty decisions for these would tend to defeat its purpose. Time, however, is of the essence and this is set for various aspects of legal action by limitation of actions legislation, which sets periods after which the case is no longer actionable. The periods are adequate and in civil law, generous to avoid injustice being done. The one serious complaint against the process of law, however, is the unwarrantable delays which are possible despite limitation. From the far‐off days of Equity, when Dickens' Jarndyce v Jarndyce, caricatured and exaggerated as it was, described the scene down to the present when delays, often spoken of in Court as outrageous are encountered, to say nothing of the crowded lists in the High Courts and Crown Courts; the result of the state of society and not the fault of the judiciary. Early in 1980, it was reported that 14,500 cases were awaiting trial in the Southeastern Circuit Crown Court alone. Outside the Courts legal work hangs on, to the annoyance of those concerned; from house purchase to probate. Here, the solicitor is very much his own master, unhampered by statutory time limits and the only recourse a client has is to change this solicitor, with no certainty that there will be any improvement, or appeal to the Law Society.
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