Day 097 - 06 Mar 95 - Page 02

     1                                      Monday, 6th March, 1995.
     3                            (In Chambers)
     5   MR. JUSTICE BELL:  Ms. Steel, I propose to mention the fact of
     6        your letter and tell Mr. Rampton about that.  I propose to
     7        tell Mr. Rampton the fact of what is -- just the fact --
     8        attached to it, the other letter, do you understand, and
     9        also the matter which you are content I should mention.  We
    10        are in chambers, in fact, are we not?  Then we will see
    11        where we go from there.
    13        Mr. Rampton, I have received a letter from Ms. Steel this
    14        morning.  Attached to it is a letter from her doctor.
    15        I should make it clear at the start that I consider it
    16        perfectly proper that she has written to me and there is
    17        nothing which would go in any way towards any of the actual
    18        issues in the case in either the letter or the letter from
    19        her doctor which is attached to it.
    21        She is anxious that I should not divulge any more details
    22        save to say that she is suffering from stress -- I will say
    23        no more than that -- which has affected her health.  The
    24        reason that she has written is to ask that this be taken
    25        into account, not only when considering breaks for
    26        preparation time which she says are appreciated, but also
    27        breaks, in effect, in order to stay healthy.
    29        I am not asking for any comment from you at this stage
    30        because I want to speak to Ms. Steel again.  Do not stand
    31        up.  Just stay where you are.
    33        I appreciate that anyone would want to be concerned about
    34        the divulging of details about their personal health.  Do
    35        you actually have a copy of the doctor's letter with you?
    37   MS. STEEL:  Yes.
    39   MR. JUSTICE BELL:  You do.  I would like you to think again
    40        about whether in chambers your letter to me and the letter
    41        from your doctor cannot be disclosed to those who represent
    42        McDonald's.  The reason for that is twofold.  In some ways
    43        neither your letter nor that of the doctor, in my view,
    44        disclose anything which might not have been apparent to any
    45        observant person in this court.  In fact, within the last
    46        few weeks it has been on the tip of my tongue to ask you if
    47        you felt all right, but I have not done so -- perhaps
    48        I should have done -- but there we are.
    50        There is nothing in either letter which relates to any 
    51        issue in the case, that is, which might affect my decision 
    52        in any way on the case, but it is very difficult if a 
    53        debate arises as to whether we should have a break here or
    54        there and, if so, for how long, unless both sides have the
    55        same information if it is related to the health of one of
    56        the parties.  Do you understand?
    58   MS. STEEL:   I do, but I do not really want to give copies of
    59        the letter to the Plaintiffs.

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