"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Returns and leavings

With one bound our hero was free

I finished the entrance exams in King's Inns today. They took place over the last five days. I did mine in the Dining Hall, a great high-roofed place replete with dome-shaped aspect and four chandeliers. All present were under the watchful gaze (via portrait) of many judges who over the years, nay the centuries, have made a mark on the law and society - and doubtless sat in that very same hall. Where I was positioned, Cecil Lavery (1894-1973), politician, Attorney General and Supreme Court judge, looked down upon me somewhat quizically. I wonder if he knew more about Rylands v Fletcher when he was my age. (Of course, the exams are a recent innovation, so he may never have been tested on it.) Five exams in as many days were tough, but they're done now.

I write from Cork, where I arrived six and a half hours after leaving my rented house in Dublin. Let's confine the story to saying that just as I arrived at the Luas at Connolly station, I heard to my dismay that there was no service to Heuston. The number 90 bus, I was told, went there. It did, in 70 minutes. Thus the five o'clock train was already history before I even made the station. The seven o'clock proceeded to be held up in Mallow because a track fault. I rely heavily on public transport, but it owes me after today.

As some readers may know, Brian McCracken retired from the Supreme Court bench in July. Fortunately, our highest court is the polar opposite of the unhappy U.S. situation of rancour and political division surrounding judicial appointments, which only seems to have worsened over the last decade or two. For better or worse, Irish people neither know nor discuss who populates such a powerful post. But the topic of oversight of judicial appointments is for another day. Rather I will make a different point. When Mr. Justice McCracken retired, I read a somewhat cursory piece in the Irish Times, in which comments made by the Chief Justice and others were briefly recorded. Then I happened upon an online transcription of the valedictory address for Lord Justice Henry Brooke of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. It records the address given by the Lord Chief Justice, and the tributes of others, including the Attorney General. One comment I noticed in particular. It was made by David Railton QC, who was the last pupil barrister taken on by Henry Brooke in 1980:
"As a pupil master, though, he was a living example of what a barrister should be, exuding all those qualities about which my Lord has already heard today: a ferocious intellect, unshakable integrity, very hard-working, thorough, invariably courteous (including to his pupil) and with an eccentric sense of humour – indeed, everything we have come to expect in our leading judges. But as a pupil master perhaps his greatest attribute, and what made pupillage with him so special, was the extraordinary enthusiasm and sense of fun which he brought to everything he did. As he told me on my first day with him, he never could quite believe how he came to be paid for something he enjoyed doing so much. That energy and enthusiasm has never waned."
The idea of such a transcription strikes as very worthwhile, and a way of recognising and recording for the interested reader, something of the people who hold such positions of great responsibility.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work!
http://kdexsgov.com/ggmb/ndiv.html | http://ngtdnqql.com/eqet/vwzb.html

Mon Oct 09, 11:06:00 AM GMT+1  

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