Friday, 19 March 2010
Tales from the Solicitor 2: The Rats
Why else have a solicitor than to tell you stories? This time we are talking about legal definitions. Does this thing count as this thing or as that thing?
He tells me of a business back where he used to live. There was a man there who had glasshouses by a stream and sold produce from them. He was doing pretty well. Then one day another firm bought some land further down the stream, built up the site and decided to drain their part of the stream for one reason or the other. The problem was that, in doing so, they disturbed a large colony of rats that immediately migrated further upstream and started eating our man's produce.
He rang the local council - the borough council - to tell them he had an infestation of rats. They asked him where the rats came from and he told them: from further down the stream where there was a new business.
Ah no, said the borough. The part of the stream where they come from is county administration. Those are county rats you've got there. It's up to the county to get rid of the rats.
A little miffed, our man went to the county council and asked them to shift the rats.
Ah no, the county replied. Those rats are on your premises now. They are borough rats, nothing to do with us.
The ways of the law are endlessly enlightening. Rats too are instructive.