The Man on the Clapham Omnibus

The Man on the Clapham Omnibus
[the legal stereotype of the ordinary man]

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The ordinary man is considered to be
The usual chap that you would often see
This kind of guy rarely makes any fuss
Meet him every day on the Clapham bus

This man is beloved of the powers-that-be
The regular guy known to you and me
Ripe for conscription or the labour market
He is the man those in charge want to target

Sometimes accused of lacking ambition
And not all his qualities gain recognition
But this everyday man has achieved prominence
When cited in court by a judge eminent

In deciding a case of alleged negligence
Both the prosecution and the defence
Were asked to consider how this oh-so-reasonable chap
May be thinking beneath his everyday cap

So thus in our legal system it became a convention
That to this man’s concerns we should pay attention
Thus determining the view of the man in the crowd
Sets a standard of which we should really be proud

Because it means that it’s not only expert opinion
That forms the ratio of any decision
But the obiter dicta  from the ordinary man’s view
Ensures the judgement can’t be misconstrued

Ken Fisher

Ratio decidendi : the rationale for the decision
Obiter dictum :    other words or guidelines in judge’s expression of opinion

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This is more like the Clapham Omnibus in the
original court case according to a Law Report of 1903

 

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