Having gruelled through two more cases where lawyers and Judges argued about ordinary residence, even quoting the Lady Hale comments about how these matters are essentially factual and not to get bogged down in legalistic quiblling before doing it anyway, I present my solution.
This will save the country money, free up Judges, and mean that none of us have to ever read these cases again
The Residence/Schemisdence Act 2015
All legislation that involves the terms ‘ordinary residence’, ‘habitual residence’, ‘domicile’ ‘place of residence’ or ‘designated authority’ will hereafter use this Act for the purpose of determining where a person lives. All previous case law attempting to define or prescribe or clarify those terms shall now have no effect and shall be replaced by the simple procedure in this Act.
Any Judge who attempts to define, prescribe, clarify, interpret or otherwise futz with this test shall :-
(a) Have their decision in the case declared null and void and the case sent back for re-hearing,
(b) Pay the legal costs, on an indemnity basis of all the parties to the original proceedings and of the re-hearing,
(c) Wear a dunce’s cap at any period when they are within the curtilage of a Court building, for a period of no less than thirty days (and up to ninety days for repeat offences) AND
(d) Have an usher sit beside them at all times when they are in Court (during the period prescribed in section 2 (c) above), and the usher shall wear a T-shirt with the legend “I’m with stupid” on the front of it. The legend shall incorporate an arrow and the usher shall be positioned so that a person looking at the arrow would have their attention directed towards the Judge.
[In the event that this is not clear enough, the Lord Chancellor has the power under this legislation to get medieval on your ass]
3 (1) The procedure for determining where a person lives shall be as follows
3 (2) Ask them [proceed to section 4 if the answer is not definitive, or not given]
3 (3) Then ask the other parties if they all agree
3(4) In the event of agreement, then the answer given by the person is where they live
3(5) In the event of dispute, the Court may use the following methods of dispute resolution but MUST choose and enforce one of them. The winner shall elect where the person is deemed to live and that decision is final
(a) The competing parties participate in a “who can hold their breath longest” competition. The competition is covered by volenti fit injuria and no claims shall arise from any loss, damage or injury suffered as a consequence
(b) A dance off (the Court’s decision on the victor shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal or challenge. The party may nominate their legal representative to perform in the dance-off on their behalf. [This may improve the ‘footwork’ at the Bar, ho-ho. It may also mean that barristers websites become more visually interesting as they advertise their ability to succeed in your case by demonstrating the shapes that they might throw]
(c) Pud-Pie, straight to London, no tipsys. [Quelfie time :- https://suesspiciousminds.com/2015/05/07/things-id-like-to-see-in-judgments-but-never-expect-to/ ]
4 (1) In the event that a person, on being asked the question at section 3 (2) above
(a) Answers “I don’t know, really” or “It depends” or “Not sure, what day is it today?” then they shall be deemed to live in Dudley, West Midlands, England
(b) Answers “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”, then they shall be admonished, made to write and send fifty two letters to the Paul Young fan club, and be deemed to live in Luton, Bedfordshire, England
(c) Declines to provide an answer, then they shall be forced to join the Paul Young fan club and act as secretary to such club writing replies to fan letters for a period of six months [In the light of section 4 (1) (b) above, it is anticipated that the workload of the Paul Young fan club may increase exponentially] and be deemed to live in Slough, Berkshire, England. Upon pronouncement of this decision, the Judge may at their own discretion add “By the look in your eye, I can tell you’re gonna cry, is it over me? If it is save your tear, cos I-I-I-I-I am not worth it you see”
(d) Is not there, they shall be deemed to live in the Isles of Scilly
You are already trying to think of loopholes. Any lawyer, McKenzie Friend or litigant in person who makes representations to the Court, whether verbally, in writing, or in any other form of communication (including but not limited to British sign language, semaphore, heliograph, mime artists, smoke signals, carving submissions into representative and meaningful statutes) offering alternative methods of determining where a person lives *shall have those representations completely and totally disregarded. Such person will also have committed an offence, and the offence will be punishable by the mandatory facial tattooing of that person with the words “I really enjoy the musical oeuvre of Thomas Dolby and I WILL talk to you about it for hours if you give me the chance”
Housing lawyers who attempt to create trouble by referencing the Rent Act 1977 will be subject to the punishments in section 5 above, and additionally to be accompanied for a period of ninety one days by two musicians, one playing a kazoo, one playing the bagpipes, who will play nothing but songs by the band “Yes” and shall play for a minimum of four hours per day
*Version 1 didn’t include some key words, which would mean that anyone saying ANYTHING to a Court on ANY subject would get the mandatory Thomas Dolby tattoo. That seems unfair. But if it happened, just imagine being Thomas Dolby going to your local Aldi, and SUDDENLY seeing dozens of people who appeared desperate to talk to you.
[Annotations and explanations :-
4 (1) (a) Why Dudley? I spent more time arguing about designated authority with Dudley than with any other authority, and there was an absolutely untrue and apocryphal story that with one troubled family who lived in a caravan on the border between Dudley and [name withheld] Dudley social workers went and pushed the caravan three feet onto our side of the border the night before the mother gave birth so that we would be responsible for the child. Not true, but it is a story that people at [name withheld] told all the time
4(1) (b) Luton is where he is from
4 (1) (c) Slough, just because…. And my friend Janet, who I worked with back in the mid 90s used to be the secretary to the Paul Young fan club
4 (1) (d) The Isles of Scilly have had zero care proceedings as their return for just about every statistical period that I can find. Even the Falklands have had more proceedings. If you are the lawyer who does care proceedings in the Isles of Scilly, please contact me. I’d really like to talk to you about a Work-Exchange programme.