When dictionaries won’t do

There’s more here than meets the eye, but not much more:

A British woman attempted to sue her former lawyers for professional negligence, claiming that, alongside a number of other allegations, they failed to advise that finalising divorce proceedings would inevitably cause her marriage to end.

The curious case — made against two solicitor firms — had already been rejected by the court, but was revealed in the transcript of a later appeal by the claimant against the dismissal of other aspects of her case.

Jane Mulcahy had argued that the lawyers should have made it clear that a divorce would cause her marriage to be terminated — something which she apparently wanted to avoid.

The solicitors, I suspect, thought this was perfectly obvious. But this was her issue:

The allegation was revealed in a subsequent appeal court judgment last month, in which Lord Justice Briggs said: “The most striking of Mrs Mulcahy’s many allegations of negligence against her solicitors was that, having regard to her Roman Catholic faith, Mrs Boots had failed to give her the advice which was requisite in view of her firmly held belief in the sanctity of marriage … either in terms of the alternative of judicial separation, or about the impossibility of pursuing divorce proceedings to a clean break settlement, without thereby inevitably bringing about the final termination of her marriage, which she wished to avoid.”

Mrs Mulcahy evidently remains divorced.

(Via this Doug Mataconis tweet.)


  1. miniapplejack »

    27 February 2014 · 9:11 pm

    … I really still don’t understand what she was expecting.

  2. Tatyana »

    28 February 2014 · 6:26 am

    I read it two times and really still don’t understand that judge’s quote

  3. fillyjonk »

    28 February 2014 · 8:00 am

    “they failed to advise that finalising divorce proceedings would inevitably cause her marriage to end.”

    There’s gotta be a clause somewhere to protect lawyers against the obliviousness of their clients.

    It kind of reminded me of an incident in lab (not one I taught) where a student got the intake tube from a spirometer (a device to measure lung capacity) stuck on her finger. When the TA asked her about it, the student’s response was “But you never TOLD us not to put them on our fingers!”

    What’s that old Schiller quotation? “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain”?

  4. Tatyana »

    28 February 2014 · 8:53 am

    I kinda feel for the poor woman:what normal human has a capacity to understand legalese? I had difficulty finding verbs and nouns in that judges’ summary, let alone some sense

  5. Roger Green »

    1 March 2014 · 12:45 am

    Somewhere, Father Mulcahy is shaking his head, with that half-smile he always had.

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