Judging the judges

I occasionally post about law, and occasionally post about politics.  In Scotland one man that is important in both spheres is Ian Hamilton QC, who has a wordpress blog updated fairly regularly with articles and thoughts from many contributors.  Hamilton is an important Nationalist thinker (and regular readers will know my sympathy lies elsewhere) and his blog is well worth a regular read.  He is concerned about social inequality, poverty, and justice.  Last night he posted a series of articles including a powerful piece on the forces  but the one that most took my interest was “On being a judge”  an account of his (too brief) time on the bench as a sheriff.  From this you get a feel of the humanity and decency of the man.  HIs introductory paragraphs are,

“I sit here in Argyll, wallowing in common sense, remembering with incredulity that twenty years ago I was a judge. Most judges are judges for life, or until their private life catches up with them. Ad vitam aut culpam people used to call it. I was lucky. I gave it the chuck before death or disgrace brought me down.

“Now I sit and read in my local paper words of wisdom from the bench such as, ‘There is far too much of this going on.’ (There is always far too much of it going on.) Or, ‘I take a very serious view of this sort of conduct.’ (I bet he does, but not half as serious a view as the poor bloke before him.)

“Being a judge is like being Mother Goose in a pantomime. Certain lines are expected from you. I tried to avoid them. I have so often sinned that I know what it’s like to be in the dock, and it’s not funny. Society is on the side of the bloke up there and in the dock you have to put up with whatever rubbish he slings at you. The sentence is bad enough but the insolence of petty jacks in office is infinitely worse. Power without humility is power abused.”

The rest is in similar vein.  Oh for more Ian Hamiltons on the bench.

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in law, scottish politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Judging the judges

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ian Hamilton is certainly a one-off. His role as the man who stole the stone of destiny would be enough on its own to secure his reputation. I knew him both as a Sheriff and as a QC, and he practised what he preached. He was unfailingly courteous and would take the time to be interested even in the lowliest minion like myself. He ruffled plenty feathers in the legal establishment – good. Thanks for directing me to his blog

    • I’m aware of the great man by reputation only, but he seems to be one of the good guys. The back catalogue of his blog is well worth a read. In particular there’s a wonderful little article, A Drunk man looks at Wendy Alexander – which is rather kinder to the nuLAb leader than one might have expected.

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