An unexpectedly weighty matter was being heard in the Administrative Court last Friday. In fact, having decided to sit in on a challenge to a decision by the secretary of state for justice, Obiter can tell readers the exact weight of the matter – 6lbs, 8oz.
With Mr Justice Supperstone presiding, Blackstone Chambers’ Michael Fordham QC got to his feet at 10.30. ‘A matter of housekeeping,’ Fordham began. ‘One of my juniors has been working overnight and I have here a [copy of] the product of her labour.’
Supperstone J was passed a picture of a new-born baby girl, no name at time of writing, and asked to excuse the absence of Blackstone Chambers’ Naina Patel – who’d been in court Thursday, but became a mother at 3.06 am on Friday. As court proceedings are transcribed, Fordham noted for Supperstone’s benefit, ‘Anything he’d like to say will end up in her [the baby’s] scrapbook.’
Obiter wonders if this happens to Supperstone a lot? The judge seemed to know the protocol – asked to sign the ‘congratulations’ card, he asked court officers: ‘Have you left a proper place for it in the bundle?’
Obiter understands that the transcript being available by the afternoon, a framed copy was taken to Patel and her new bundle of joy – along with more standard ‘welcome to the world’ gifts.