Judge's delay 'unacceptable'

A decision of Mr Justice Harman has been challenged in the Court of Appeal on the basis of inordinate, unacceptable and inexcusable delay. It has been argued that the judge, who heard the case in question in June and July 1994, failed to give his judgment until 1 April 1996 and that this delay one of the longest on record would have, inter alia, dimmed his recollection of witnesses. It is also claimed that he mislaid case papers. Appeal judges Lords Justices Gibson, Brooke and Mummery were told during the appeal that letters were written to Judge Harman as the delay went on urging him to give his judgment and that the Vice Chancellor had also been contacted. Because of the delay consideration was also being given to taking out life insurance on the judge to cover lost legal costs if he died before giving his ruling.