These are trying times, where the news feels bleak and upbeat stories struggle to gain traction.
So Obiter is more than happy to highlight an outbreak of positivity among judges in a number of recent rulings, in cases where the bench has gone out of its way to praise advocates and even IT systems. It is fairly routine for judges to thank lawyers at the conclusion of cases, but these go that much further and we wholeheartedly approve.
Mr Justice Lavender, in his High Court ruling on a fundamental dishonesty case in Kamara v Builder Depot Limited, took time out to commend barrister Graham Smith, a pupil at his first hearing as an advocate and instructed at very short notice. The judge noted that Smith ‘in difficult circumstances, he did a very good job’.
Then there is Lady Justice Arden, sitting in the Court of Appeal in Edwards v Parabis Law LLP (t/a Cogent Law) and going out of her way to add a sentence praising counsel Elaine Banton’s skeleton argument and submissions, which were ‘exceptionally good’.
One judge even included a bonus paragraph of his judgment dedicated to praising the use of electronic bundles in the courts' Caselines system.
His Honour Judge Simon Jack, sitting in Hull Family Court and rounding off S (Fact-Finding), said: ‘I thoroughly recommend the experience. Embrace it: it will make your life easier. In case you are thinking that I am some young computer-whizz, that is certainly not the case: I am fast approaching compulsory retirement age, and am only moderately technologically aware. The system is very user-friendly, and saves time and effort.’