I have written before about the judgment of Justice Owen in the case brought by the liquidator of The Bell Group Limited and numerous subsidiaries against two syndicates of about 20 banks in total who in 1989-1990 took security over practically the entirety of those companies’ assets. The trial ran for 404 days. The judge, Justice Owen, was confronted with a massive task in writing his judgment. It was a task which threatened to overwhelm him. It took him 2 years.
One strategy he adopted as a means of coping was to sprinkle his (very lengthy) judgment with obscure words. It was more a matter of judicial whimsy as a survival strategy than judicial humour as it is usually exhibited (with compulsory deferential chuckles by all counsel present).
“Nidus” was one such word, as in the following paragraph:
708 A nidus in the plaintiffs’ case is the allegation that at the commencement of, and during, the Scheme Period the main companies in the Bell group were insolvent. Lack of solvency is an element of almost all of the causes of action contended for by the plaintiffs.
All of which is by way of a shout out to my fellow blogger and Shanghai-Wagnerite, Wanderer, who has had excruciating cause to contemplate the nidus of his recently diagnosed kidney stones. He suspects dehydration during his time in Shanghai (which is not a city where anybody drinks the water straight from the tap). It would be fitting if the first stone formed at the moment that Alberich cursed love at the beginning of Das Rheingold.
Helpfully, perhaps as a result of diversionary therapy embarked upon by sufferers from the condition, Wikipedia provides a lengthy (but, given the percentages, only scratching the surface) list of famous kidney stone sufferers. This includes the following:
Opera singer Birgit Nilsson painfully passed a kidney stone following a concert in Göteborg, Sweden.
I haven’t chased up the reference there to see if the program for the concert can be identified, but it does raise the possibility that it was Wagner rather than Shanghai that is to blame for Wanderer’s plight. Who can embark upon Das Rheingold (which has no interval) or the longer acts of Siegfried or Götterdämmerung in a fully hydrated state?
If, in addition to the relief that any helpful substances may provide, Ms Nilsson’s example can serve as any consolation to him, I hope it does.