HHJ Pennyweather: Judicial eccentricities amplified on Twitter!

Posted on 24th Sep 2013 in BabyBarista

In his latest posting, His Honour Judge Pennyweather ruminates on the mysterious allure of anonymous tweeting for members of the judiciary. Sponsored post from the BabyBarista blog.

PennyweatherJ Circuit

Having enjoyed a few weeks of the extremely generous holiday allowance afforded to judges over the Summer, it was quite a shock to the system arriving back to the land of bickering barristers and snivelling solicitors. The only thing that’s getting me through it at present is my new-found toy which is The Twitter. You see, there are a whole bunch (or perhaps a bore?) of judges who have now signed up under assumed names and they’re certainly being a lot more indiscreet than the judicial guidelines would usually permit. All I can hope is that no litigant gets wind of these accounts and starts looking up some of the extremely rude comments that are being made about the various people appearing before these learned tweeting titans. The appeals which would inevitably follow would not be comfortable reading for any judge caught in the crosshairs.

But as well as indiscreet live case commentaries, there are plenty of other ways in which Her Majesty’s judiciary are articulating their daily grind of boredom and sloth. For example, there’s one judge who sends out a motivational message every couple of hours. Now that might just work for a twenty-five year old wannabe still finding their way in the world. But for the tired old never-has-been that he is, an injunction that it’s never too late to drop out and follow your dreams makes you wince just to read it. My dear friend, it was too late the day you decided to take up your place on the bench and no amount of motivational candy is going to circumvent that reality. All you can hope is that you live long enough to enjoy the lucrative judicial pension when the golden day of retirement arrives and in the meantime, make do with red wine and the limited camaraderie that comes through surviving the judicial trenches that we all have to suffer.

But even that particular judge hasn’t fallen as low as another who keeps posting judicial self-portraits. Not that they are rude in themselves. But donning an enormous fake moustache along with his ceremonial judge’s wig and posing in front of any shop he happens to visit is hardly becoming of someone in the business of dispensing justice. But for good or for bad, it is unlikely that this extra-judicial tweeting will reduce in the coming months. Indeed, trying to control a profession which prides itself on its independence and eccentricities is like trying to herd stray cats or perhaps more appropriately in this case stray sloths. What’s more it all goes further to underline the point about justice not only not being done but being seen not to be done.

Meanwhile, I think perhaps my favourite tweet has come from my good friend the barrister OldRuin who when forced to write something with this new technology came up with simply, “I very much like the ICLR Online”. When he was then challenged to be a little more colourful in his utterings, he followed up with, “A full peal of my local church bells for the ICLR Online.”