Obiter is just back from Clare College, Cambridge – home-to-be of eminent lawyer and life peer Lord Grabiner QC, when he takes up the post of master. A nice way to crown a distinguished legal career that’s seen the One Essex Street head of chambers on his feet for the Treasury against shareholders of Northern Rock.
Grabiner can look back on all that with a view from his lodge down to the Cam through an immaculate garden – except that this seeming idyll is not quite all it appears. Obiter understands Grabiner’s new Old Court home isn’t in the best of shape, needing some £20m for a new roof and ‘services’.
The money’s not quite what you’d call ‘all there’ yet. Quite a few ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ notes to write. And for the decade the works will take (coincidentally, pretty much the average tenure length for a college master) much of Old Court and the lodge will be out of action. ‘I’m not sure we’ve broken it to him yet,’ one college fellow tells Obiter.