A High Court Dun is a strange animal perhaps not much encountered these days but in the past I recall one gentleman in particular who shall remain nameless, whose path crossed the path of an unfortunate client of mine and who pursued her mercilessly for outstanding debts that he had acquired from elsewhere.
A Dun would acquire the debts owed by somebody and then “dun” the individual for the money, that is to say press them for payment. This might take the form of Court proceedings but more often than not took the form of harassing them by calling at their home and doing everything in their power to frighten them into paying up.
On balance it is perhaps not that different from the modern debt collector who very often resorts to not dissimilar means of extracting money from people. Also one has to admit that if somebody does owe money then it is not unreasonable to require them to pay it and given that some of the people who incur debts and do not honour them turn it into a lifestyle, it is perhaps appropriate that there is an individual who makes his living out of preying on them.
There was something very Dickensian about the idea of a High Court Dun and if you ever came across the individual, their appearance reflected the murky world in which they lived and made a living. The one in question was short, tubby, balding and middle aged. He wore a long greasy khaki raincoat beneath which a tie which had seen better days was visible which encircled a grimy shirt collar that was tattered and frayed. He carried a thin old briefcase in which were a collection of what looked like glossy tissue and which might have been mistaken as lavatory paper were it not for the fact they were covered in tiny closely written words and sentences.
One would be tempted at first sight to disregard these pieces of paper as little more than rubbish but to do so would be fatal because the gentleman in question knew the rules of the Supreme Court inside out and indeed was reputed to read them in bed every night by the light of a guttering candle. He would issue applications based upon those rules and woe betide the Solicitor who treated those applications as contempt. If they missed an appointment or a deadline then the only way they would be able to recover or retrieve the position when they discovered their error would be by paying his “costs” of the application that was necessary to put matters right.
In this way this grimy and very unsavoury but cunning individual made his living. He not only dunned debtors but also fleeced unwary Solicitors. He is probably working for the devil at this very moment or at least one can hope that he is.