‘Unfailingly courteous’: Top lawyers highlight human decency on the bench
Barristers take to Twitter to swap stories of their judicial faves
Senior judges are keen to remind the public that, underneath the wig and gown, they are only human.
That judges ain’t robots is made clear by frequent horror stories of judicial bullying of lawyers who appear before them — a nightmare scenario for junior advocates in particular.
But top barristers also have fond memories of times when judges showed their human side in the nicest possible way.
Prompted yesterday by yet another negative scene in court, crime silk Michael Auty reminded followers that being a jerk isn’t a necessity on the bench:
Mum died on 27.4.2007 as I was due to begin Day 3 of an Appeal. Igor Judge, having heard me out of turn, removed his wig and said, “Michael; get yourself back home to Nottingham; our thoughts and prayers go with you.” That, and Joel Bennathan QC (my opponent) were pure class.
— Michael Auty QC (@MichaelAutyQC) December 11, 2017
And anonymous advocate CrimeGirl contributed her own tale of judicial kindness:
How lovely. I was at CA last year when a pupil appeared before him, shaking with nerves. He had a note passed to her. She was not successful, came back to robing room crying her eyes out. She opened the note – it said ‘it will get easier’ (or similar), he had signed it. ?
— CrimeGirl ✨ (@CrimeGirI) December 11, 2017
While Rebecca Herbert of 36 Bedford Row recalled being sent flowers and called into chambers by concerned judges when times were hard in her personal life.
It’s not just members of the bar who appreciate a bit of judicial TLC at times. Lord Neuberger, who recently retired as Supreme Court president, reminisced earlier this year about his experience as a newly appointed High Court judge:
“The first time I was reversed, the judgment was given by Lord Justice Mummery, who characteristically got in touch and said that I should not take it amiss; the Court of Appeal saw many excellent judgments which they nonetheless overruled.”
His replacement, law student favourite Lady Hale, was singled out by No.1 High Pavement’s Auty as an example of a “terrifyingly clever and yet unfailingly courteous” judge. No surprises there, we reckon.
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