“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.”
So starts “The Luck Of The Bodkins”, by P. G. Wodehouse. His triumph is to continue writing with the same skill, as in the first sentence, for the rest of the book. He does something else; he imparts meaning to the world.
Every litigant in court must do the same and invariably a litigant must convey that meaning in writing, either in pleadings or in affidavits or both. The premier mode of writing to convey meaning is narrative. It not only implies a point of view, it implies understanding. A litigant without understanding of his/her case will lose it.
This is what my computer dictionary/wikipedia has to say about third party narration, that is narration by “… an unspecified entity or uninvolved person…”.
“Traditionally, mainstream fiction with third person narration operates near the middle of the subjective/objective spectrum, alternating between objective and subjective reality and also offering alternating perspectives of the main characters. This allows the narrator to present both the objective reality and the subjective perspectives of the various characters on that reality. Given this information, the reader can then judge for themselves (without being told outright by the narrator) whether the character is a hero, fool, or other type based on the way they perceive and interact with the established reality.”
In “Law and Philosophy”[2007, Oxford University Press] one essay, with the title “Objectivity and Value: Legal Arguments and the Fallibility of Judges”, by Stephen Guest, runs for 27.5 pages and we need all of them. It is required of judges that they be objective, otherwise they cannot be wrong and the hierarchy of courts giving opportunities for appeals implies that judges can be wrong.
From the litigant’s standpoint, to expect him/her to relate “just the facts” is to ask him/her to abandon meaning. As my computer dictionary/Wikipedia puts it;
“Naturally, any being that is omniscient is supernatural, or God-like, and must hold back information due to the constraints of time and the potential to overwhelm the reader.”
We must be selective in the facts we choose to relate and, of course, nobody is omniscient. What is not obvious is that, in litigation, the applicable law determines what are the relevant facts. Unless you know the law you cannot know the facts.
So, that’s what we need lawyers for; to write the pleadings and affidavits of the litigants and to make sense of the world.