I don’t often have an active need for the justice system. I interact with it on occasion (speeding fines, business name registrations, etc), but today I felt part of it. 14 months ago I separated from my ex, and today was the hearing. I attended just to make sure any issues could be dealt with immediately rather than delay the process.
There were 20 or more cases being heard during the one hour session, and the solicitors went first. Their time costs more per hour than mine. I guess that’s the rationale. Every solicitor approached the Registrar and started with variations of “if it pleases the court, I will be representing the husband/wife in this matter.” It invariably pleased the court and they proceeded to quote dates of marriage and separation, names of children, care arrangements. I was picking up hints preparing for my approach.
When the time came, I stepped up and started “I represent myself in these matters” and was invited to sit. The Registrar, having concluded all business with the solicitors’ cases, advised the remaining applicants and respondents of the process. She would invite them up, read their papers and ask questions if required. My requirement to act like a solicitor was removed, although I would have enjoyed the opportunity to try. (Some of you might recall that I entertained the thought of pursuing a career in law.)
Questions were asked as they arose; did I receive the respondent’s response to divorce (a question that suggested my ex hadn’t filed my acknowledgement of service), how long had we lived under one roof, when did I change my name. Once satisfied she rolled off her verdict, finding the marriage proved, documents served, no children being a party to the separation and granted the divorce in one month. I thanked her and my mum and I left the court room.
Not having had breakfast yet, my mum and I walked in the general direction of Flinders Street train station and came across a most peculiarly located café - in the entrance to the Bank of New Zealand! Never having eaten in a bank before, we just couldn’t refuse. The wonderful café owners invited us in very enthusiastically when they saw us hanging around near the menus in the foyer, and before long we were sat down awaiting our coffees and toasties.
We had brunch in relative relaxation and then continued on our way to Federation Square, where we needed another rest. And I hadn’t celebrated my morning yet, not sufficiently any way, so along came a Poison Ivy (apple liqueur and Midori topped up with sparkling wine) to mark the occasion.
Of course that’s not the only celebration; upon getting home from work we had fish and chips and bubbly.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing a small part in the justice system today, and I’m grateful that I live in a country where justice is afforded to all and I’m able to play that part. All in all, I had an enjoyable and relaxing day, with a little adrenaline to get me going in the morning.