Calls for the judicial retirement age to be raised to 75 attract much supportive correspondence to The Times. The paper famously read by people who run the country publishes letters from Lord Woolf, Lord Mackay of Clashfern and the chairman of the Magistrates Association.
But the star letter must be the one signed by His Honour Barrington Black of London NW3, who writes: ’I was allowed to sit as a circuit judge until 75, and subsequently in the Gibraltar Supreme Court from age 80 for a further two years. All without mishap. That is, until the final two weeks, when (owing entirely to a minor confusion on names) I sentenced a particularly disruptive defence lawyer to three years in prison.’
It took a full half hour before anyone bothered (or, Obiter suspects, dared) to correct him, Black adds.