Dealing with 115 procurement law challenges and a judicial review of the government’s criminal legal aid contracts was never going to be easy. But midway through yesterday's three-hour hearing, Obiter sensed that Mr Justice Stuart-Smith is already losing patience. Discussing which court should handle the claims in future, and which judges would be hearing the case, Stuart-Smith interjected: ‘I may do a runner after today.’
Stuart-Smith was also visibly startled to find himself having to make an order to ensure all parties had contact details for those involved in the litigation. He ordered everyone involved in the proceedings to ’write on the copy held by the junior counsel for the defendant their representative’s details including email if they have one.’
Two-and-a-half hours after the hearing began, Stuart-Smith said he was leaving the courtroom for 10 minutes to allow parties to discuss any further matters they wished to raise. Obiter was not the only one relieved that he did not carry out his threat to do a runner. Not yet, anyway.