The master of the rolls Lord Dyson gave a tear-jerker of a send-off to Lord Judge last month, in a valedictory speech ahead of his retirement as lord chief justice in September. Dyson said he had quizzed colleagues, friends and family of the highly personable and dedicated Judge, in search of some peccadillo or minor indiscretion to slip into his speech – but to no avail.
The judge recounted an anecdote of his own, from 1992, giving an insight into the LCJ’s true character. Dyson and Judge, with their respective wives, happened to be on the same walking holiday in Italy (Obiter is somewhat intrigued by this coincidence). During one long, hot walk, the exhausted group came upon a fig tree laden with fruit. It stood alone in a field, but fairly close to a house, and it was unclear whether or not it was on private land.
The rest of the group fell upon the succulent figs, Dyson included, but Judge resisted the temptation. Instinctively, Dyson concluded, his colleague just knew how to behave. Either that, or he simply doesn’t like figs.