An unexpected statement by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office has left the legal profession stunned.
Responding to the news, lawyer and writer David Allen Green, who has had cases before Senior Master Whitaker, told Legal Cheek:
“The Masters of the High Court do a difficult job well. They manage the cases from the initial claim through to trial. They deal with interim orders, disclosure and applications. There is a lot which can knock a case off-balance. It is thanks to the Masters that litigation at the High Court proceeds as well as it does.
“In respect of the more complex cases and class action claims, where the multiplicity of parties creates even more complexity, there are far more things which can go wrong. Senior Master Whitaker was an outstanding judge in managing these complicated claims. It is not an easy task to get such cases from claim to trial.
“Whatever the facts behind the resignation and the finding by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, the loss of Senior Master Whitaker is a serious loss to the High Court and its effective management of difficult cases.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter other leading lawyers have expressed regret.
— Simon Myerson QC (@SCynic1) March 14, 2014
According to his LinkedIn profile, Whitaker, 64, resigned from his post last month. But lack of detail in the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office statement means there is currently scant information as to what exactly happened.
— Jeremy Hopkins (@Jezhop) March 14, 2014