As a keen follower of the career of Christopher Grayling MP since his less than happy spell as the first non-lawyer lord chancellor for several hundred years, Obiter is familiar with the epithet 'failing'. Over-familiar, in fact, as it has become a rather tired cliché. 

It even surfaced this week at the controversial meeting of the Fourteenth Delegated Legislation Committee which narrowly voted through the government's proposed reforms to probate fees. 

An opponent of the reform, North London Labour MP Catherine West, was quick to identify a culprit, saying: ‘The start of all this [an underfunded justice system] can be traced back to when the justice department was led by what is known in the press as “failing Grayling".' 

Not acceptable, ruled the committee's Conservative chair James Gray. He pointed out that referring to an MP by name was not the usual convention, especially when coupled with an ‘expression like that’. MPs should ‘stick to the statutory instrument in front of them,’ he added.

Despite that, given Grayling's current role as secretary of state for transport, we doubt that we have heard the last of his nickname.