What judges say Vs. what judges mean

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“I consider this application, in accordance with the Overriding Objective” = “Eeeny-meeny-miney-mo”


The language of the courtroom can be archaic, convoluted and sometimes simply baffling.

For example, why should the break for lunch be routinely referred to as “the short adjournment”? And what does it mean when the judge draws his finger across his throat while you’re making your closing submissions?

Find the answers to these questions, and many others, in the latest instalment to the ever-helpful and entirely unreliable Wiagapedia guides to court etiquette …


1. “Mr Snooks, in his very able and cogent submissions said … “

“Mr Snooks has lost”

2. “Yes, I can see the force in that argument”

“I reject that argument as being utter tripe”

3. “I’ve had a quick look at your skeletons”

“You mean you’ve sent in skeletons?”

4. “I’ve read the skeletons”

“I vaguely recall seeing them in this pile of papers somewhere”

5. “I’ve read the papers”

“I’ve not read the papers”

6. “Is that your best point?”

“Sit down now”

7. To witness: “Would you say, Mr Smith, that the situation is as follows … “

“Because if you do, that’d really help me with my judgment”

8. “I haven’t heard the evidence or come to any firm conclusions at this point but … “

“You’ve lost, so save your breath and just give in now”

9. “I’m going to reserve my judgment”

“I’m going to find someone who knows more about this than I do and ask him to write my judgment”

10. “Is that a convenient moment, Mr Snooks?”

“It’s jam roly-poly for lunch in Hall today and the other judges will have had most of it by now … “

11. “Is there any prospect of this matter being resolved?”

“I’m due on the golf course at 4pm”

12. “I do wonder if the time estimate for this matter is adequate … “

“I’m due on the golf course at 2pm”

13. “What’s your authority for that proposition?”

“Did you ever actually go to bar school, let alone pass any exam?”

14. “I prefer the evidence of Mr Smith where it is in conflict with that of Mr Brown”

“Mr Brown is a congenital liar — if that’s even his real name”

15. “I find as a fact that … “

“I’m trying to avoid the Court of Appeal … “

16. “Doing the best I can … “

“The coin came up ‘heads'”

17. “I am grateful to counsel for their able submissions and helpful skeletons”

“This is an area of law that I have no idea what anyone is talking about”

18. “I have considered carefully the Court of Appeal’s decision on this issue and respectfully adopt their guidance and reasoning”

“Any chance of a promotion? Must be about time by now, surely?”

19. “I consider this application, in accordance with the Overriding Objective”

“Eeeny-meeny-miney-mo … “

20. “In his novel and attractive submissions, Mr Snooks said …”

“Mr Snooks is an idiot and his advocacy is a narcoleptic hazard. I reject his nonsense arguments utterly”

Wigapedia (aka Colm Nugent) is a barrister at Hardwicke.


What your Instructions say Vs. what they mean [Legal Cheek]

The language of the legal directory: decoded — 2014 edition [Legal Cheek]

The full collection of articles from Wigapedia are here.



“Mr Snooks has said all that could be said on behalf of his client”
= Mr Snooks has lost.


Not Amused

“I am open to submissions on costs” = I have hurt the losing party, now it is time for me to hurt the winner.



Indeed…very indeed



“Mr Snooks, in his very able and cogent submissions said…” may mean that Mr Snooks has lost but what the judge is actually saying is:
“I remember my days as a porcine beautician very well and I remember the judges who were nice to me when I, after 10 minutes with the papers, ran hopeless points for hopeless clients. “


Pump Court

Thank you very much indeeeeeed. I’m against you. Jury please.



Thats Maximum Bob



Inner London court 3



I did my very first crown court appearance – bail app – in crt 3. He literally never even let me say a word. Bail refused thank you very much indeeeed. Oh happy days



I think what number 18 actually means is, “I cannot be bothered to think about this myself or explain my decision, so the answer is what they said and you can take it up with them if you’ve got a problem.”



“Im very grateful to both counsel for their assistance” = What the hell were you 2 on about? This should have been a simple question of quantum not Numberwang.



At no.7, “judgement”, should be “judgment”.



Nope. Either ‘judgement’ or ‘judgment’ is fine.



“Have learned counsel agreed on a reading list of key documents?” = Mr Snooks seeks to bury the truth in lever arch files. Mr Snooks has lost.


Luke Wolf

“Mr Snooks rightly conceded…” = well, I didn’t give him a choice not to.


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