The term “The Man On The Clapham Omnibus” was introduced into English Law in the Victorian era to describe a hypothetical ordinary and reasonable person.
This was useful when, say, in a case of negligence, the court had to decide if a party behaved as a reasonable person would be expected to.
I wonder if, in cases of pedestrians being knocked down by vehicles, it was slightly changed to “The Man Under The Clapham Omnibus”?
In reality, the odds that every one of the thousands of male passengers who travelled on every bus that headed to and from Clapham Common could be considered a ‘reasonable person’ are pretty slim.
In Victorian times omnibuses would have carried a fair number of pickpockets, conmen, fraudsters, embezzlers, footpads, spies, blackmailers, murderers, burglars, adulterers and the occasional estate agent.
As quaint and old-fashioned as it sounds, “The Man On The Clapham Omnibus” is still an important concept in British Law.
As “The Man On The Clapped-Out Ammanford Bus”, I try to take a reasonable view of the world…until something annoys me so much I give vent to my feelings.
What annoys you may not tie in with my own personal pet hates.
By the way, I have no intention of digging out my old joke that the daily habit of my house-trained hippopotamus of trampling through my rhododendron bushes is one of my pet hates. Though I might use the joke next week.
My current pet hate relates to the slow, insidious Americanisation of our language that, as far as I can tell, many people don’t care about or just haven’t noticed.
I’ve been railing against TV and radio presenters stretching out the first syllable of ‘research’ to pronounce it as ‘ree-search’ for years, yet I still hear it every day.
Does no one with power and influence read my column?
Lately, the same news broadcasters have been informing us about mandatory tests for Covid-19.
Except they pronounce the word as ‘man-day-tor-ee’.
It’s only a matter of time before, at the end of every bulletin, news readers fire their Colt 45s in the air, shouting “Yee Hah!”