Anorak News | Crying Woolf

Crying Woolf

by | 9th, March 2004

‘IT’S not that justice is blind, rather that the wig slips a little from time to time and falls over the eyes.

‘What do you think of the tight perm, Your Honour?’

Tony Blair is set on reforming things by removing the men in full-bottomed wigs and tights and replacing them with a US-style independent supreme court of modern suits and sharp edges.

But the law and the legal types who operate within its bounds are of a certain bent and, as the Telegraph reports, Blair’s call for a modern judiciary is being met with stubborn resistance.

In the course of a prolix debate as to the rights and wrongs of reform between men in such aforesaid womanly garb, Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, called Lord Falconer of Thornton, the Constitutional Affairs Secretary, a ‘cheerful chappie’.

To the man on the street well versed in more direct badinage, that’s not a huge insult, but in legal circles comments come more heavily loaded than an American schoolboy’s satchel. So Woolf apologised, ‘if offence was caused’.

See that ‘if’? It’s the qualifier that marks Woolf out to be something more than an old duffer with a penchant for fancy dress.

But not all judges are so subtle in their approach, and for every Lord Woolf there is, as the Times explains, a trainee learning the ropes.

Today the paper takes a trip to Scotland and sees the work of Sheriff Richard Davidson, pictured in a small rolled wig, black jacket and understated white scarf.

In front of him is the plaintiff, one Margaret Christie, whose case against the manufacturer of her wedding dress came before Davidson at the Dundee Sheriff Court.

Christie argued that the dress she’d ordered was not what she had wanted. So bad was it that, on the day of her marriage to one William Christie, she wore a dress from a different company.

The defendant said the dress was fine. And so it was over to Davidson for his verdict.

‘She [Christie] wanted to crate an appearance which would portray her as having a degree of voluptuousness,’ he opined.

‘Unfortunately she did not have the necessary basic ingredients for being voluptuous.’

She was, as Davidson puts it, ‘unfortunately lacking in the essential body qualities to achieve the desired effect’.

So Mrs Christie lost the case, and was, the Times puns, ‘left feeling flat’. She will now appeal against the verdict, claiming that Davidson’s comments were ’embarrassing and totally sexist’.

We wish her well in her claim – and trust that Sheriff Davidson will be promptly fast tracked to the very highest echelons of the legal system.’

Posted: 9th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink