Picture this scene: we’re in a café with two average Brits, Joe and Josephine. Unbelievably, two aliens suddenly join them for coffee and cake, as never happens. Shock subsiding, the extraterrestrials have questions about UK governance – where can all the rules be found, they ask? Before deciding where to reside, they must know all governing regulations.
Not quite sure of the answers, but giving it their very best, Joe and Josephine explain that some rules appear on the internet, available for everyone to read. However, when pressed on locating full legal codification, they exchange confused looks. After pondering, they suggest lawyers would know all the rules.
Probing deeper, the aliens ask if all lawyers know all the rules, fully. The humans explain that there are varying legal specialisms, which make universal command impossible. Instead, one must find the appropriate lawyer specialist for any particular question, but they admit that they do not know all the various types of legal specialisms, nor where all these lawyers could be found.
The aliens then inquire if all lawyer subject matter experts agree on the precise interpretation? Joe and Josephine do their best to explain that lawyers often disagree, with judges ultimately arbitrating disputes in courtrooms.
Ah, so judges know all the rules in full! Not quite, explain the humans – higher courts exist to settle more complex disagreements, with a peak Supreme Court holding final interpretive authority. There could be four or five levels of courts, they guessed.
Fantastic, exclaim the aliens – so attaining definitive clarity is swift! Joseph and Josephine chuckle – no, the adversarial climb would consume years.
The aliens keep delving. As taxpayers in a democracy, they say, this service from lawyers and judges is free, right? At that ridiculous question, Joe and Josephine burst into laughter.
Stunned at all this silliness, the aliens depart this chaotic legal system, in search of an alternative society built on transparency.