Nowhere is the balance of power and authority more blatantly highlighted than a courtroom. The judge wields influence not just over cases but the individuals over whom they preside.
To hear, as we did this week, of occasions when judges have belittled and undermined advocates is deeply concerning and not something to be taken lightly.
Full credit to barrister Mary Aspinall-Miles. Her comments - hardly controversial given the knowing nods of many of her colleagues - have opened a channel for lawyers to share their own experiences and perhaps raise the spirits of a young advocate feeling low after a judicial put-down.
Thankfully, plain rudeness from the bench appears to be the exception rather than the rule. Yet we should be quick to shut down accusations of ‘snowflake’ against lawyers who complain of poor treatment.
We have seen this week in other arena entirely a particularly egregious example of the culture of silence that prevails when people in power are able to exert undue authority over those who are weaker.
Accusations that some judges are rude are of course very different, but there is a grain of similarity here that is worth noting.
Yes, things probably were different back in the day. Yes, advocates of yesteryear perhaps did face even worse tongue-lashings from the bench.
But when advocates are going home in tears; when their confidence is shattered; when they fear humiliation for simply doing their jobs in court - we should support anyone who stands up and says something.
Those doing so are not too flaky for the job and they shouldn’t be told the law is not for them. The courtroom is a highly-charged place, but that does not give judges a free pass to bully advocates.