April 30, 2004
Lloyd's and Slavery Part II
A little short story for a Friday afternoon.
The tip jar's over on the right .
Victims of Slavery v Lloyd's of London
Judgement by Lord Justice Mussellbeet.
Court of Appeal.
May 25 th 2006.
This is a transcription of the oral presentation of the judgement read out in court by the Lord Justice. There may be minor variations between this and the still to come printed version.
“In the matter of Victims of Slavery versus Lloyd's of London there are a number of issues which need to be discussed before announcing the verdict. We note that this is an appeal from the High Court and wish to point out that our years together at Eton with the distinguished judge who heard the original case in no manner influence our decision to oversee his verdict. That he was older than ourselves ( If there are those who object to the third person plural take note: if such things can be used by mere Royals it is only the deficiencies of the language that leave nothing more august for a Lord Justice to use. ) and partial to beating us is of no relevance, indeed such spankings have helped to make us the men, um, man, we are today. His numerous attempted buggeries have similarly no relevance to our opinion that he is....um where was I ....ah, yes, senile and should be removed from the Bench post haste. It is in this spirit of disinterested, even handed enquiry that we will now proceed to the basis of the case.
A number of what appear to be known as African Americans joined a class action suit against Lloyd's of London, their assertion being that Lloyd's, by insuring the vessels upon which their forefathers ( and as a trivial gesture to political correctness, something we always thought meant deciding whether to hang first flog later, or the other way around, foremothers ) were taken to the colonies that said Lloyd's is now responsible in a financial manner for their state and status.
We also note that this is a class action, something new to the English courts, and that the lawyers for the plaintiffs are working on a contingency fee arrangement, something also fairly new to these shores. We understand that this means that if the plaintiffs should win their case, and show that Lloyd's is indeed responsible for their current situation, that the lawyers will share in the award. It is a further tribute to the impartiality of ourselves that we have not allowed our opinions of blood sucking leeches...cough cough...upstart colonials...oh dear, some editing problems with our notes here...American trial lawyers to change this arrangement. We are delighted that these ambulance chasers will be able to share in the award, if such there be.
We note that Lloyd's was established as a formal organisation in 1771 nearly a century after its first stirrings, and that the slave trade was abolished in 1807. Therefore, only those who can show that their ancestors were transported in this time period have status in this case. We are satisfied that a number of the plaintiffs meet this standard.
There is also the matter of whether Lloyd's as an organisation actually exists in order to be sued. We agree with the defense that it is not Lloyd's which actually insures anything, it is in fact the Names who do so via syndicates. However, we are able to provide some relief to the plaintiffs on this matter. It is a fact that those who had the money and breeding to be Names in the late 18 th century are also those with the wealth and breeding to be so in the early 21 st century. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a just or even reasonable society in which such were not the case. So we find that the Lloyd's of today is indeed capable of being held responsible for the results of the actions of Lloyd's two centuries ago.
What was that ? A noise in the court ? Get to the point ? Madam, we would like to remind you that all of this is the point. Justice is not served by simply a verdict. It is the crowning glory of the Common Law system that justice in the future is best served by the ramblings, the obiter dicta, of such eminent beings as ourselves. Centuries hence judges and lesser mortals will be able to look back to the reasoning process behind today's judgement and will thus be able to find ineffable joy and certainty in the decisions of a dead white european male, if indeed Lord Justices are in fact mortal.
It has been brought to our attention that the average life span in West Africa is some 45 years, and the average annual income £ 500 a year. In the United States the similar figures are 75 years and £ 25,000.
Armed with the afore-noted facts we are now able to overturn the verdict of the flapheaded oppressor of our schooldays and find in favour of the plaintiffs.
Lloyd's of London is indeed responsible for the situation in which they find themselves.
Now, as to damages. As you may have noted, there is no jury here, simply ourselves, so calculation of the damages, the restitution to be paid, falls to us.
The basis of such a calculation is always that of sufficient to restore the situation to that of the status quo ante, or what it was before.
Each of the plaintiffs is to pay to Lloyd's the sum of £ 985,000 immediately. This is based on a working life in the US of 40 years at £ 25,000 per annum as opposed to a 30 year working life in West Africa at £ 500 per annum. It is with a little relish that we note that, under the normal contingency arrangements, the plaintiffs lawyers will be liable for 40 % of these sums.
We further order that Lloyd's make suitable arrangements, at Lloyd's expense, for the return of the plaintiffs to their respective tribal homelands in West Africa. If America has damaged you so much that you must come to England to sue those responsible for taking you there, the least that can be done is to provide you with transport home. It should be obvious that at the same time the transportees will be stripped of their US citizenship as it must be heinous to bear such a mark of the slaver's oppression of you.
There now remains the question of lifespans to consider. It is with considerable sadness that we note we cannot don the black cap now and order executions to bring the plaintiff's average lifespan as a class down to what it would have been if Lloyd's had not existed, but we think it right that they should discuss amongst themselves methods to correct this injustice, perhaps a lottery for assisted suicide or some such. As previously noted their lawyers should be liable for 40 % of this part of the settlement, and having done some back of the parchment calculations we would point out that the immediate slaying of all of their legal representation will fill these requirements.
That would be a suitable payment for encouraging the plaintiffs to persist in such a ludicrous and impertinent suit.
God Save the Queen. “
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came here courtesy of storyblogging carnival 4 -laughing my head off!
Posted by: sheya joie | Oct 25, 2004 8:48:44 PM