2 kinds of barristers – those who know the law and those who know the judge!

This is meant to be mocking, of course – the suggestion being that you don’t have to be much of a lawyer if you “know” the judge! In other words, if you know him personally, he’ll do what you want him to do in the case before him.

There have always been strict rules about appearing before members of your own family but otherwise it was always accepted that you might “know” the judge anyway. He could have been a former member of your chambers or you might have met him socially. A sense of integrity observed on both sides should mean that it makes no difference to any result, which ought to depend entirely on the merits of the case.

However, knowing of the judge i.e. having knowledge of his reputation, is a different thing altogether. Any barrister, worth his salt, will tailor his arguments to suit the tribunal he is addressing, that’s just plain common sense.

The worse thing, for any barrister, is to find himself appearing in a court where not only is he a stranger to the judge but the judge resents his very presence ….

That’s what happened to Charlie, in my novel Wig Begone by Charles Courtley when Charlie dares to venture into the civil courts…

The judge’s eyes, hard as pieces of coal, goggled at me…Now, I knew exactly how a wretched rodent must feel when a hawk is about to pounce from the sky. To mix a metaphor, I felt a fish out of water daring to trespass into the hallowed hunting grounds of real lawyers in the Chancery Division…

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