Obiter’s many friends include any number of solicitors who worry that their contribution to the canon of our laws is fleeting: that some of their most earnest efforts may go unnoticed.
To which Obiter says – just cheer up and have some fun. Unexpectedly, inspiration for how to do this comes via the Matisse exhibition at London’s Tate Britain. ‘What can I write?’ the artist once asked, grappling with a little light writer’s block, before confessing: ‘I cannot very well fill these pages with the fables of La Fontaine, as I used to do as a law clerk when writing “engrossed decisions” that no one reads, not even the judge.’
Engrossed decisions, he continued, ‘are only made to use up a certain amount of official paper in accordance with the importance of the trial’.
On the face of it, in the age of skeleton arguments, concealing such japes may be a little more challenging. Still, the pages of O-Level English history judges Hallett, Ouseley and Haddon-Cave snuck into their Supreme Court judgment concerning Richard III’s final resting place makes us wonder.