Anorak | Daily Mail Spreads Fear Over Judge Mostyn’s Holiday With Widow In Tenerife

Daily Mail Spreads Fear Over Judge Mostyn’s Holiday With Widow In Tenerife

by | 23rd, April 2011

THE Mail leads with news that High Court judge Sir Nicholas Mostyn will be conducting hearings by phone from his holiday 1,800 miles away in Tenerife ”.

What hearings?

Sir Nicholas Mostyn, who earns £172,000 a year, is the duty judge for family hearings, often traumatic child care proceedings and bitter divorces.

But what hearings, exactly?

He is understood to be with his new partner, fellow barrister Elizabeth Saunders, whose husband Mark was shot dead by police.

That point is so irrelevant that the Mail’s Robert Verkaik can only speculate on it being true. So. Why include it?

But judges and lawyers expressed concern that it could cause a problem if an urgent matter needed to be dealt with in person and were surprised at the move by such a high-ranking duty judge.


But one judge who specialises in family law cases said that not being in the country could be a problem if an urgent matter could not be dealt with over the telephone.

Could. If. Could. And why if it is so vital matter is the judge who talks to the Mail not named?

This story is lacking the shock value of that front-page headline:


Still, can we imagine what might go wrong if the judge is required in a case that could be problematic?

A judge conducting a case in Tenerife would need to hear the application via a mobile phone link which might be subject to an interrupted signal or routed through a hotel switchboard, which could raise concerns about security.

A mobile phone routed thought a hotel switchboard? What era is the Mail’s reporter living in?

And then this gem:

If a judge is in the Canary Islands, he also may not be in tune with current UK events from which the facts of the emergency case may have sprung.

Because the internet does not exist? Email does not exist? Mobile phones you can call directly do no exist? Files cannot be posted? Judges are all idiots?

Families caught up in traumatic child cases could also be perturbed to learn that the judge may have only just come off the beach or left the swimming pool.

The judge being relaxed, not overworked and stressed could be a worry because if he drips on the mobile phone he might kill himself, the switchboard operator and the person he is speaking with?

The tin lid on this care story is provided, ironically, by the Mail’s one named source:

Lawyer Mark Stephens, who has been involved in many injunction cases, said: ‘If you are going for an injunction over the Easter Holiday you will be going for one which is very important and can’t wait for someone to fly back from Tenerife to hear the case.”

So. An injunction over the Easter holidays is unlikely because it would have to be very important. Might, then, the judge be advised to holiday during this quieter period?

Sir Nicholas is named as the family court’s duty judge between April 20 and 26.

And again we are told:

It is understood he flew out of the country on Friday with Mrs Saunders, whose husband was shot dead in a stand-off at his £3 million West London apartment in 2008.

What says the Judicial Communications Office?

The JCO said: “It is far from unusual for the duty judge to work from a location other than his or her home. Mr Justice Mostyn is available to deal with applications by email and telephone in the same way as he would from his home.
“He has

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Posted: 23rd, April 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink