Hint. If you’re going to the High Court, it’s a good idea to arrange your thoughts so that you don’t come across like a complete idiot.
Wouldn’t that seem to be a basic precaution? Do not be a fool.
It seems obvious, and yet so many lay litigants overlook this simple basic point. If you are an idiot with no logical arguments, you will be told to fuck off and you will be liable for all costs. Even if you claim that your point is in the public interest, you will be stuck for all the costs, if the judge thinks you’ve been talking bullshit.
That might seem tough, but it’s what happened today after two lay litigants took cases to the High Court, opposing the decision of the Irish people in the Marriage Equality referendum.
The first of them, Mr Walshe from Clare, was careful to point out that he wasn’t anti-gay, even though his case affected nobody else and only had the effect of depriving gay people of their rights. Fair enough. Definitely not anti-gay, then.
Mr Walshe made the point that public money was used to pay for Yes posters. He personally noticed more Yes posters than No posters in his local supermarket car-park. In his opinion, this was evidence that he was being oppressed.
His opinion received short shrift in court, sadly for him.
Mr Walshe also pointed out that copies of the referendum bill were not available in post offices. When the judge pointed out that this was not a requirement in the law and that he could have easily checked this before coming to the court, Mr Walshe said that he didn’t have good internet coverage where he lived.
At this point, to his eternal credit the judge didn’t interject to call Mr Walshe a thundering fool.
Meanwhile the other litigant, Mr Lyons, claimed that the question posed to the electorate was incompatible with the Christian preamble to the constitution.
The judge explained, as patiently as he could, that the court had no jurisdiction in regard to the wording of constitutional amendments.
Both cases were kicked out and since neither man had made any significant point in the public interest, the judge found that they were responsible for costs arising from their actions, or to put it another way, they have to pay everyone.
To summarise: two men with no understanding of the law, went to the High Court demanding that their ignorant, uninformed understanding of the constitution should be imposed on the rest of us. The High Court told them to fuck off and now they have to pay the price of their arrogance.
As it should be.
Put up or shut up.