Fascinated as I was by District Judge Paul Mildred’s article ‘Conduct unbecoming in our courts’, I can’t help but think he has misdirected himself.
Respect can be demanded, but, in my experience, is given only when it is earned.
District Judge Mildred hankers after a respect that should be rendered to individuals ‘due to the office they hold’ (would that hold in China or Libya?).
I sympathise with him to some extent.
On the other hand, my experience of judicial office-holders throughout a range of courts leaves me firmly in the camp preached by my parents: that respect has to be earned.
The point of all this (after 30 years in the frontline for claimants and defendants) is quite simple. Just as the judiciary meets the wrong kind of public occasionally, clients and this advocate have met the wrong kind of judicial representative.
Pomposity, rudeness, bluntness and other traits besides leave many an advocate shaking their head (and clients bemused) at the behaviour of some of our elevated peers.
Moreover, I have always failed to understand how ‘the system’ rarely, if ever, gives latitude to litigants for lateness, delay and ignorance of procedures; and yet the same system dismisses and excuses the delays that exist in the court system.
Pots and kettles spring to mind – but one wonders whether that would be showing a lack of respect.
Barry Bond, Senior partner, Jarmans Solicitors, Sittingbourne, Kent