Monday, 12 January 2009

A very lovely and special first time today. For the first time ever, I attended a judge's 'swearing in' ceremony. This is the occasion on which a judge is formally sworn in, and swears allegiance to the Queen and officially takes up their position.
The judge in question was my favourite judge in the world, Jeremy Sullivan. Mr. Justice Sullivan has been a judge of the High Court for eleven years and was today being elevated to the Court of Appeal, so as of today he is Lord Justice Sullivan. It's hard to describe this man. If I had heroes, he would undoubtedly be my judge hero. Jarvis would be my music hero and Sullivan is my law hero. I must explain that this is not (unlike the case of Jarvis) because I have any kind of a crush on him. It's because he manages to be a rare combination of things: very clever (obviously goes without saying), courteous to all advocates who appear in front of him (some judges could really learn from him, I have to say, you know who you are) and brilliant at spotting the heart of the issue. Everyone agrees that you could tell within the first five minutes whether you had won with him.
Anyway, so the ceremony was brilliant. It was in court 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice, one of the biggest courts, so that it could fit all the judges and barristers who wanted to wish him well. He came in dressed in the world's fanciest outfit: all wig and gold embroidery and silk and you really had to be there to believe it. He swore allegiance to the Queen, and, rather touchingly, to 'do good for all manner of people'. Congrats, Lord Justice Sullivan. And every best wish for the future.

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