Comes now the plaintiff

‘Comes now the plaintiff’ is an American expression – perhaps that’s why I find it so weird. There was a discussion on avoiding Latinisms in The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog (I link to Evan Schaeffer’s other blog, Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground (hmm, it used to be called Notes from…).

One of the commenters there writes:

For example, the phrase “Comes Now” at the start of a pleading. If the pleading was actually read in open court to the illiterate masses it makes sense. Otherwise, i’t’s just a really odd phrase. “Comes Now Mr. Brown, by and and through his attorney. . .” I routinely banish that from my pleadings if the secretary, used to other lawyers, includes it.

But the thing is, to me it wouldn’t even make sense if it was read in open court. It would have to be ‘Here comes the plaintiff’. Why not? I mean, even one of those American comedy shows had the punchline ‘Here come de judge’, didn’t it? Of course, that wouldn’t make it any easier to translate. In Romain I found ‘comes and defends: es erscheint (der Beklagte) und läßt sich wie folgt auf die Klage ein’.

To quote another comment:

Re: silly antiquated English pleading — I gained incredible respect for a (female) probate commissioner I met last summer, who said flatly, “no one is going to come or pray on any of my paperwork.”

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