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判詞雜談

2015/1/13 — 19:12

普通法系許多法官,文筆亮麗。曾任美國最高法院大法官的霍姆斯是其一,寫的不論是判詞或書信,都字字鏗鏘,珠玉紛陳,單是一八九七年在《哈佛法學期刊》發表的演辭《法律之道》,提出「法庭之判決,即為法律之本質」之說,下啟法律現實主義之濫觴,就足使其不朽。今年暑假,見友人書架上一冊波斯納法官編選的《霍姆斯選集》,我馬上借來,讀後大有醍醐灌頂之感。

收錄法官妙語警句的書,坊間為數不少,新近出版的《Law and Disorder: Absurdly Funny Moments from the Courts》就是一例,但我嫌其庸俗,私以為取捨之間,能做到謔而不虐的,首推Sir Robert Megarry出版的《法訟瑣聞》、《瑣聞二集》和《瑣聞三集》。《瑣聞》副題為「給律師和他人的消遣」,將判詞的精采段落和法庭的趣聞,分門別類,加以整理,一九五五年出版以來,一直再版,歷久不衰,《二集》和《三集》沿用一樣的體例,分別在一九七三年和二零零五年出版。

Sir Robert Megarry VC文采風流,讀劍橋時不務正業,寫樂評,踢足球,考飛機牌,結果名落孫山,以三級榮譽畢業,但這無礙他成為大律師和法官。他領頭撰寫的土地法參考書,如今由其他學者接手編寫,三年前出了第八版,而他討論程序公義的一段話,提醒法官和決策者,兼聽則明,早成經典。原文跌宕有致,柳暗花明,幾近譯無可譯,姑錄如下:

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As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change. 

走筆至此,想到最近讀過的一篇文章,言讀法律系的學生,聊天不離案例、模擬法庭和實習計劃,沉悶之極,並非理想的情人。法律系學生是否語言無味,我有偏見,判斷不能作準,但法官寫愛情,有時候,確能得婉轉附物、怊悵切情之致。包致金法官退休後出版回憶錄,寫自己曾承諾與妻子廝守終身,遺憾出爾反爾,未如所言與妻子一起老去,「只因今朝我垂垂老已,她依然美麗,一如昨日」。一九一九年,Lord Justice Atkin在Balfour v Balfour一案中以合約喻愛情,也寫過這樣漂亮的段落:

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The common law does not regulate the form of agreements between spouses. Their promises are not sealed with seals and sealing wax. The consideration that really obtains for them is that natural love and affection which counts for so little in these cold Courts. The terms may be repudiated, varied or renewed as performance proceeds or as disagreements develop, and the principles of the common law as to exoneration and discharge and accord and satisfaction are such as find no place in the domestic code. The parties themselves are advocates, judges, Courts, sheriff's officer and reporter. In respect of these promises each house is a domain into which the King's writ does not seek to run, and to which his officers do not seek to be admitted.

大意是夫妻間的約定,以情封緘,其中的條款,或有更訂,或有違反,但都與普通法之原則無關,在愛情這場訴訟中,夫妻擔當了辯護人、法官和記者的角色,其中對錯,即使是英王自己,亦不得置一詞。

當然,愛情不是一場不落幕的嘉年華會,永恆的和風麗日,只屬於童話故事和愛情小說,所以在刑事案例的字裡行間,我們偶能瞥見苦戀那份骨枯髓盡的執迷,如何容易令人失去理智:

He said it was horrible. His wife was a different person “it was like she was somebody else”. With that the walls and the ceiling just seemed to close in. She was talking but he could not hear what she was saying. He could see her mouth opening and closing. He could hear a noise, like the distant sea. He wanted everything to stop. He wanted everything to slow down. He then reached out and grabbed the piece of wood. The attack on her followed.

這樣的筆法,特別是「他聽得見一種聲音,恰如遠處的海洋」之句,精短,有力,像極了寫《流動的饗宴》時期的海明威。都扯遠了,但興之所致,行文散漫,大可不必介懷,畢竟這不是庭上的陳詞,文章可以像愛情一樣,開始和結束,都毫無原因,不同的是,前者仁慈,完結之際,沒有人要受到傷害。

此文,致 WT。

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