Among the fond tributes to solicitor-judge Richard Jacey, who has died at the age of 71, is a lovely tale from district judge colleague Martin Zimmels. He recalls that Jacey’s lifelong interest in mechanics, which began with a teenage fascination with steam engines and vintage cars, once came in handy in court.
Some years before his retirement, Jacey was hearing a small claim involving a householder and a firm of bathroom fitters. After hearing the evidence Jacey adjourned the case for 30 minutes. During this time he took a 20-minute walk to the car park and back in order to fetch his monkey wrench from the boot of his car (alas, probably not the 1904 De Dion Bouton in which he regularly completed the London to Brighton rally).
Back in court, and in the presence of both parties, he unscrewed the plumbing fitting at the centre of the dispute and painstakingly explained the design fault involved. That’s a skill they don’t teach at the bar.