Thursday, July 05, 2012

What the heck is a "pathway" anyway?

Now THAT is what I call a "pathway"...
IN HIS Family Justice Modernisation Programme Mr Justice Ryder talks of setting up "pathways" for both private and public law matters, which will "set out the expectations the court has of the parties and the expectation the parties may have of the court as to how family cases will be managed".

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I really don't like this new expression. What on Earth is wrong with the word "procedure"? It's not as if "procedure" is a piece of legal jargon that no lay person will understand - its meaning is obvious, even to the ignorant litigant in person for whom the word "pathway" seems to have been designed.

Mr Justice Ryder is about the same vintage as me, and should therefore know better, but he appears to have succumbed to the modern practice of changing all terminology for the sake of it. However, on this occasion the change has actually made the meaning more, rather than less, obscure. For most people, a "pathway" may be something you follow, but it is surely not nearly as well recognised in this context as the perfectly acceptable word "procedure".

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