Summers in London seem to always feature that gritty diesel smell and taste in the mouth that is just more pronounced there than any other large European city. Forgetting the taste for a moment and checking my watch, I folded the copy of the Financial Times I had been reading, checked my watch again and dodged the black taxi’s as I crossed the street to the Oxford club for lunch.
My host, a graduate of the University, had learned I would be in town and graciously proposed we meet. My father had always maintained one must be prepared with coat and tie when travelling in Europe, lest one not be admitted to such a place as the Oxford Club. I am happy to report he was correct. There still are places other than a courtroom where attire counts.
Unexpectedly we were joined by several members of Her Majesties Government, including the Head of MI-6, referred to as “M” . We were seated together. After a discussion concerning my professional background, (which felt more like I was on the stand and this was more of an examination) I was engaged to represent one of their agents, namely Bond, James Bond.
My client has a License to Kill, which has its legal precedent in the Letter of Marque and Reprisal. This is more or less a grant of authority by a sovereign to a private person, usually the owner of an armed vessel to commit what would otherwise be piracy or murder. The concept dates back to 1205 and was first granted in England, but is also featured in the American Constitution at Article One, Section 8 clause 11 granting authority to Congress to issue the Letter.
And so it is Mr. Bond travels the globe doing the work of Her Majesty that she would rather not know about. While the license allows for what would otherwise be homicide, what about assaults that are not with clear intent to kill? Wouldn’t he have criminal and civil liability say for just a maiming or ordinary assault? What about trespass or burglary? The License says nothing about this.
Our theory is all of these claims are incident to the License, and therefore are an act by a sovereign against another or at the very least an enemy of Her Majesty, and therefore legal.
Then of course there are all those dodgy paternity suits Mr. Bond seems to leave in his wake all over the globe. I mean really, 007, how do you have time for all these relations?
The primary defense is jurisdictional. Often the plaintiff has a hard time showing just where the acts that lead to the suit took place, and rarely is jurisdiction acquired by presence of the agent. And a good thing too, the support obligations alone presently take a full percent of Her Majesties defense budget.
This certainly is interesting work. I could make a regular practice of it. In a world where secret agents leave a trail of litigation behind them, the world turns to one man; Patterson, Mark Patterson.