'We've just listened to you explain how you went about doing what you did,' the Plaintiff's barrister asks the Respondent Promise Maker in cross-examination.
In courts and tribunals today, the same exchange will occur in some form.
'Yes,' the Promiser answers.
'Can I ask you to look at this document?'
'Do you recognise it?'
'Yes. It's the Contract of Employment/Agreement/Thing I Promised To Do.'
'I'll take you through your Promise and make you say out loud the things you Promised to do'
'I'll then take you through the laws that you also Promised to follow by virtue of being a citizen'
'I'll call five witnesses to produce forty two documents that will prove what you actually did.
'I'll then summarise in excruciating detail the gap between your Promise and what you did.'
Sit in the public gallery or read any transcript or reasons for judgment online, and this is the story arc that will almost always unfold. A journey from Expectation to Reality.
In the year that I asked more than 500 new employees at each induction session how many had read their employment agreement - the Promises made between them and their employer - only one said that they had. Among those new staff would have been new managers.
When organisational conflict arises we call HR to show them the pieces of Promises we've laid out and they show us the picture on the lid as we nod and smile and tell ourselves they match.
Good decision making is honouring our Promises.