Ultra Vires


Dear Denning

Seeking an injunction in the name of pleasure

Dear Denning: My boyfriend Chip won’t go down on me! Can I get an order for specific performance? – Uma Unsatisfied

Dear Uma:

Mr. Chip is a scrub, employed by no-one in particular. In 2018, he was minded to get himself a girlfriend. He prefers it in summer, rather than in the “cuffing season.” He was looking forward to the sex and an occasional night out. It was to be his one personal indulgence. Chip saw a Tinder profile made by you. On the faith of that profile, he decided to swipe right. You instantly fell in love with his carefree attitude and silken-smooth pickup line: “Call me the fireman, because I turn on the hoes.”

But there was to be trouble in paradise. After your first date at Boston Pizza, Chip would not go down on you. This is despite you insistently and repeatedly gesturing towards your nethers. Chip explained that he thought a good English man should “never do anything DJ Khaled wouldn’t do”.

In the old courts of common law, you would have been without a remedy. Plaintiffs could not bring suit for lacking sexual performance. As an institution made up entirely of 70-something year old men, the House of Lords was wary of awarding judgements against failed sexual performers.

Only Lord Dilhorne repeatedly opposed the House of Lords. In his notable dissent in Stacy v Chad (1950) 1 HL 2 he wrote: “Though I am unable to agree as to the disposition of this appeal, I concur with the majority in finding that I won’t stop till you’re finished; you ain’t felt love till a gangsta get up in it, Dream.”

Despite the common law’s reticence, remedies were widely available in equity. In 1502, the careless Lord Chancellor Thomas “Cashmoney” Collins inadvertently granted a filthy peasant’s petition to compel sexual performance from a sheep. Cashmoney Collins LC was badly hungover from Lord Sandwich’s nobility kegger while hearing the matter, wasn’t paying attention, and granted the petition without reading it to get the litigants to stop talking to him.

Ever since this fateful decision, orders for specific sexual performance were available in equity. To obtain an order, a petitioner needed to satisfy the court that it would be less work to blindly grant their request than to listen to witnesses tell their boring life stories.

Uma, I am already bored of your story. I will quickly and haphazardly dispose of this appeal. The remedy is if Chip will not go down on you, he will be held in contempt of court. It will be no answer for him to say: “But DJ Khaled doesn’t go down!” Khaled is an idiot. His words are no part of English law. 

This remedy may leave you in an unfortunate position. Chip will be imprisoned if he does not comply with the order. Your summer slam-piece may spend all summer sitting in the slammer. Should Chip be carcerally committed he will presumably be unable to fulfil your desires.

Should this happen you may get back on Tinder. But I can fashion a better justice. Come to the Royal Courts of Justice Building in Westminster anytime after 9. My parents aren’t home. Like Lord Dilhorne, Denning is also a dissenter 😉

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