As number two in the judicial pecking order, second only to the lord chief justice himself, one might expect Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury to be above petty grudges. But it turns out that, in common with most advocates, he finds it difficult to accept when a court obtusely refuses to be persuaded by his compelling arguments – even if it all happened 19 years ago. Giving a speech on law reform to the Law Commission last week, Neuberger cited the case of Commissioner for New Towns v Cooper (GB) Ltd, which he ‘comprehensively lost’ as a barrister. He recalled: ‘In notional parentheses, I should add this. If I appear to be a sore loser when it comes to Cooper, it’s because I am. I had in my favour common sense, a previous decision of the Court of Appeal, the Law Commission’s own clearly expressed intention, and I still lost. Whether that was because the court took a very dim view of my clients, or because I had (quite rightly) lost already on three other grounds so they thought they may as well go for a full house, or whether I was overawed by being against my former pupil-master (who, I am delighted to say, is still in practice), or whether I was an appalling advocate, I leave others to decide.’ Well it’s nice to see that he’s moved on.