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‘The days of deference are over,’ says Court of Appeal judge, who didn’t mind when witness called her ‘chuck’

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It beats ‘Your Worship’

Dame Anne Rafferty

A Court of Appeal judge has taken a gentle swipe at judges’ weakness for grand forms of address.

In a newly published speech, Dame Anne Rafferty told an audience at the recent Royal Society Diversity Conference that the “days of unquestioning deference are, in our society, long gone”, before preceding to reel off a list of titles that she has been (incorrectly) addressed by:

“I’ve been called most things in my time. Your Honour — wrong. Your Lordship — wrong. Your Highness — wrong. Your Eminence — wrong, but there’s a career path no one has yet suggested to me: Pope. Madam — wrong, but with slightly different career possibilities.”

Rafferty — who added that deference “has to be earned” — then revealed her personal favourite:

“But by far my favourite was when sitting as a High Court judge in Leeds. A lorry driver was called by the Crown. He manoeuvred his not inconsiderable bulk into the witness box, hitched up one shoulder of his granddad vest, had a comforting scratch of one of his tattoos, and repeated the oath after the usher. I said to him, with not a hint of pomposity, ‘Do sit down’. He glanced at me and said ‘Thanks chuck’.

The ‘What do I call a judge?’ page on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website contains a list of the often hilariously grandiose and pseudo-aristocratic titles that people are supposed to call British judges. As if to deliberately confuse, they vary according to what court you are in — and range from ‘My Lord’ to ‘Master’ to ‘Your Worship’.

Rafferty’s comments came as part of a speech in which she highlighted the increasingly diverse nature of the judiciary. She highlighted that last year 62% of new judicial appointments went to a state school, and 56% were the first in the family to go to university — hinting perhaps that this new generation of judges would have less tolerance for some previously unquestioned norms.

Rafferty, a former criminal barrister who herself went to state school before studying law at Sheffield University, also noted the rising number of women at the bench. A quarter of judges in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court are now female, including the Supreme Court president. Rafferty pointed out too that 8% of judges are now black and minority ethnic.

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62 Comments

Anonymous

We should ‘chuck’ these so called ‘modernisers’. Reducing the formality of the courtroom is just an extension of the middle management madness that sees us all referred to as court “users”, and by which the importance of the judicial process continues to be eroded.

Anonymous

There are always fancy dress parties, if you want to play let’s pretend.

Anonymous

I thought it said “the days of defence are over”, which would have been more accurate!

JD Partner

Something I tell my trainee every day.

Anonymous

Before we get carried away with state school statistics and equality, do we need to check whether the Free Masons are casting their net over state schoolers, non Oxbridge and women outside London, first ?

It may make little difference to the administration of justice if the key players are members of secret societies, even if they are non Oxbridge state schoolers.

Am I right in thinking that in 1990, when her Ladyship was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel, that that process was still proceeding by secret soundings ?

She is a University Chancellor as well.

Amen

Travelling Gavel

And precisely what do the Freemasons have to do with it? If you check the basic rules of the Craft then this judge is deemed ineligible… A MAN of at least 21 years of age with a belief in a supreme being; she falls on the first hurdle.

Anonymous

There are women freemasons lodges and, indeed, ethnic minority ones.

There have been attempts to make membership of a lodge declarable but these were opposed and deemed unlawful.

It makes a difference for a few reasons: Patronage from one mason to another, which can cut across fair recruitment procedures, an alternative view about morality to the beatidudes. Also, the observation of orders from the hierarchy on a given scenario, rather than fairly dealing with the matter in issue.

If freemasons believe that human behaviour is watched by the Most High and all behaviour is justifiable on a personal basis, in some way, however bad, then this could have an impact in their apparent lack of punishment of certain crimes , criminal strategies and the lack of funding for legal aid.

Of particular interest generally is their penchant for suppressing one religion in particular and blaming its rise in the first place on tyrannical laws and tyrannical official practitioners, rather than the beauty of its human psychology. This view being taken, imo, because Free Masonry was a hobby horse of great financiers, and the religion in question being prone to oppose them, having principles which did not suit them or their hierarchical corporations or their view of the environment and ecosystem.

There is a risk that a free mason as a judge will favour an outcome that a financier would desire versus an outcome that one would be led to expect from a given statutory text combined with concepts like human rights and fair trial.

In education a free mason may implement education policies which suit financiers , rather than policies which would mirror the resurrection of humanity and all that it is capable of achieving in glory, in an organised form such as a communion.

In a few words , a very senior practitioner called Leo forbade membership of lodges for a particular branch of a particular religion on the basis that the ends of each were so opposite that membership warranted a severe, though non violent, penalty called ex communication. So a particular judge or chancellor who was one would find themselves excommunicated by Leo , not that they would care.

JFK gave a speech about secret societies shortly before he was shot. Trump shies away from it, using the language of the threat of globalisation to the American people, instead of the threat of the aims of the inner core of secret societies such as the Free Masons.

It is a pity that it is on the syllabus, but it is.

Anonymous

So I have read from a series of lectures given by a monsignor under instruction from Leo, anyway.

Travelling Gavel

All baloney; want to come and meet us? Learn the truth?

Anonymous

Most judges don’t mind so long as the person is not being rude. A sir or madam will get you by in most courtrooms if you are a L.I.P.

50 Cent

What if you’re a P.I.M.P.?

Anonymous

‘Ho’ works in that case

🤴🏿Fiddy 🤴🏿

I’m melting in your mouth girl, not in your hand.

Anonymous

Don’t know what you heard about me
But no judge can get no dolla outa me
No mason, no QC get one over me,
Cos I’m a m####r f#####g LIP

Anonymous

Don’t know what you heard about me
I’ll be as biased as I f**kin wanna be
You’ll kiss my a** if you’re gonna address me
Cos I’m a mutha f**kin J-U-D-G-E

Anonymous

Cos I’m a mother f**kin DDJ

Anonymous

DJ mutha f*ckin DDJ

With my small axe, so help me.

You can get away with a lot as a LiP, but only for as long as you don’t introduce yourself as ‘Kevin of the family Spragg, free man of the land’ or somesuch.

Bewildered onlooker

The Kevins of family Spragg o this world get away with more than most. No one is quite sure what to do with them.

Anonymous

Not with this judge – in Alexander v Willow Court she went against medical advice and ruled against an octogenarian LIP with mental health problems who had requested that her case be adjourned.

Anonymous

Not so. No adjournment was requested, much less applied for; the request was for a change of venue. According to the judgment, the ‘medical evidence’ didn’t even explain why a change of venue was needed.

Anonymous

Not much difference, she went against medical advice and refused to give an octogenarian LIP a change of venue (or adjournment). The medical evidence (no inverted commas needed) did explain why a change of venue or adjournment would be desirable.

Anonymous

Indeed so – there were repeated requests for adjournment.

Critical Thinker

“Hilariously grandiose and pseudo-aristocratic” – alright Alex, I think we see your opinion on this issue.

Proper levels of respect are important in all places, but I think most would agree particularly so in court. In the legal industry, titles are earnt (so not pseudo-aristocratic in any meaningful sense) and I would suggest it’s not at all “hilarious” to try and address someone in the correct manner.

Even if you don’t care for formality, the other person you’re dealing with may well care. Even if a particular individual does not particularly care (as is perhaps the case for The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty; it is difficult to tell from the quotes given despite the spin applied in the editorial), then others of equivalent standing may care, and it is not in the gift of the individual to undermine their colleagues’ position.

TL;DR: people should be polite and that means using titles where others do.

Anonymous

Mutual respect is fine, the bowing, scraping and silly titles should be a thing of the past though, or at least voluntary.

Critical Thinker

Agree to disagree – if people who have earnt their titles expect you to use them, then it is polite to do so. You may be all progressive and right-on, but it does not mean everyone else has to be, and for some formality is the proper expression of respect.

Anonymous

And likewise you can tug your own forelock, but not everyone has to. What some see as respect, others see as overly deferential.

Anonymous

Yes ofc alex is an opponent of earnt titles. He’s almost 50 and his literal sole achievements in life are a Durham degree and this legalblogsitetweetshitthing

Anonymous

The titles are a bit silly though, and the individuals holding them not always worthy of deference.

Anonymous

Lol can you imagine being closer to pensioner then to student and being a blogger squaring in our mumsy’s garage?

Anonymous

Lol, imagine walking around with a poodle on your head and expecting people to call you sir.

Anonymous

Here’s the thing, yes I can.
I might think it’s a silly way to show my position but I’d at most feel some physical embarrassment.
Imagine the overwhelming moral embarrassment Alex must experience whenever any contemporary- who would by now be partners or senior in-house – asks what he’s doing with his life.
Or even when the mailman knocks on his mumsy’s door and he has to answer.
I mean hell, atleast the mailman is paying his own rent!

Anonymous

Imagine parading around like Harry Potter though and expecting to be addressed as ‘My Lord’.

Lord Harley of potter

I’ll sue you!

Anonymous

Why hasn’t alex deleted this yet? It cuts to the core of his persona.

So go on Alex, is this an accurate description of your professional position????

Anonymous

But imagine dressing up like a matador and expecting to be called Your Worship.

Anonymous

But imagine wearing an adult diaper as a middle aged man living in your mumsy’s garage when the mailman comes around

Anonymous

But imagine a grown man expecting people to stand up when he enters the room.

Anonymous

But imagine a grown man being tucked in by his mumsy in a garage

Anonymous

But imagine going around in a kimono and expecting to be addressed as My Lady.

Anonymous

But imagine dressing up like Santa Claus and expecting to be addressed as master.

Pol Pot's nemesis

Far more telling than the usual trope about how x% of newly appointed judges/Magic Circle partners/QCs have gone to State schools, would be an enquiry as to how many of these eminences have sent their offspring to State schools. Apart from a few, cannily using Grammar Schools in leafier parts of the country, I’d guess not very many.

Which would go to show that there is a lot of tedious virtue signalling going on and it’s getting very boring.

Anonymous

It doesn’t really matter from a social mobility perspective whether or not they send their children to state schools. They themselves have gone to state school and managed to succeed in a profession supposedly ruled by private school alumni.

The fact that they want a positive advantage for their own children doesn’t negate that fact and is arguably a strong indicator that social mobility is possible, given that their own parents were unable to do what they are doing.

Anonymous

If there was a tendency to promote freemasons or other members of secret societies, that would cut across the positive vibration, for it would mean that any tendency to appoint such secret people, rather than appoint on merit and irrespective of moral outlook was continuing but while wearing a friendly looking mask.

You may not think it matters, but back in the day, such secret societies were a notorious pre requisite of state office and a few countries outlawed the brotherhood. Germany, Italy for example.

Travelling Gavel

Your comment regarding the Freemasons being outlawed in Germany and Italy is indeed correct; during WW2 by Hitler and Mussolini. If you want to criticise us on this basis; perhaps consider who your bedfellows will be…

If you are so concerned about our influence why not come and meet us? For a secret society our buildings are usually readily identifiable and, like Grand Lodge on Great Queen Street, open to the public.

Anonymous

Because you will waste my time sending a couple of stand ups from the lower degrees.

Travelling Gavel

You won’t find many higher

Mrs B

Says Mrs Brian John Barker.

Anonymous

The legal profession is rapidly turning itself into a joke. Secret societies and unknown networks abound within it.

Anonymous

The control the masons have can be seen from looking at those who are consistently ranked within the legal directories.

Anonymous

How can it be seen? Is there a directory of freemasons that is accessible to the public?

Anonymous

Two lodges were caught at Parliament recently. Politicians have joined and sworn allegiance to a secret society in the heart of the democracy, notwithstanding outward loyalty to a party and a process of government and opposition. If there are masons there, and in the police, where they have also been complained about recently , they will be in the judiciary too. They mirror a state within a state, that is the rule of the game.

An initiative to disclose was blocked by judicial review.

They tend to recoil with denial, feigned beneficience, avoidance of allegation on the grounds of being simple folk, and occasional sacrifice of one or two lodge members.

There are severe penalties for betraying the secrets of the craft so they will come on here and deny it…I assume there are also rewards.

There is no public directory but recently there was a 1920s directory from Berlin, I think it was, on eBay. The membership is similar to a localised Bilderberg group. Individual barristers know individual masons and see how their rating in say the legal 500 compares to their actual worth, so the original comment will have legs.

Your denial on the other hand looks like typical propaganda.

It would be interesting if this Judge was one, or similar. She has certainly had a meteoric rise from Wolverhampton Girls and Sheffield. May be she is one, may be she was exactly what high office was looking for each time she applied.

The loose stitch, if it exists, would be why she thought she was in with a chance to be chancellor of a University. Amen.

Anonymous

At my set two QCs (both masons) were fast tracked into it by head of chambers (also mason) notwithstanding they were below par for the set. Female QC in set also married to a mason.

Travelling Gavel

If you’re so sure of your claim; name the set. We have rules against such nepotism.

Anonymous

Titles and court etiquette are just ways of maintaining civility in an environment where things could become hostile without them. They’re not really about deference. Any deference in court comes from the power in the judge as being the embodiment of the court.

And most judges hate smarmy types anyway.

If you want to see deference in action go to a big law firm. Wall-to-wall crawling and toadying around partners. Partners so puffed up and pompous that they think this is all natural and deserved. Puke making.

Anonymous

Its perfectly possible to be civil without bowing and scraping. The titles are more about establishing a pecking order.

No deference is needed to judges as the ’embodiment of the court’, whatever that means. The public pay judges’ wages remember. Mutual respect, yes, titles and deference, no.

And most judges love the fawning!

Anonymous

A solicitor responds!

Anonymous

No he doesn’t, but I note your deference has boundaries.

Annonymous

Parties, Witnesses, and Jurors should be able to call a judge whatever they want, and so long as they do so respectfully, and judges should be suitably impartial to not let it affect them. Counsel, by contrast, can and should be held to the Court’s pleasure.

Anonymous

Agree totally re parties, witnesses and jurors. But I think the same should also apply to barristers.

Henry

Hi, what do law firms think of The University of Law? For LLB and in relation to TCs. Thanks

Anonymous

Most judges are complete A-holes

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