Judge are never likely to be the shy and retiring type. So a chance to let them reel off their pet hates to an audience of solicitors was always going to be fun.
This week’s civil litigation section conference at the Law Society was no exception.
Obiter suspects Master Fontaine was only partly speaking with tongue in cheek when she said the number one piece of advice for dealing with litigants in person was not to leave the volatile ones alone in court with her.
District judge (and solicitor) Keith Etherington echoed some recent warnings about a good grasp of the English language, saying it was not unheard of for single sentences to stretch over a page, while the use of ‘could of’ rather than ‘could have’ is increasingly common.
Etherington also advised one solicitor who had recently written to him to double-check in future that a rogue ‘t’ doesn’t replace the ‘g’ in his ‘regards’ sign-off.
But spare a thought for one judge who is about to feel a little embarrassed about her lack of knowledge of a former colleague.
David Mackie retired as a senior circuit judge last year after a stellar career as Allen & Overy head of litigation, but now acts as an occasional McKenzie friend.
You might say he needs little introduction, but Mackie revealed: ‘Last week I was asked [by a judge] if I could produce my CV next time I appear in court. She is going to be in for a shock.’