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The Pompous Judicial ‘Blah’ of the Judge & The Prostitutes & The Creative Artistry of Barristers’ Bills

Sir Robert Jones* In an entertaining recent Australian libel case the presiding Judge, Justice Flick, wrote the following pompous blah in his judgement.

“The evidence establishes his knowledge of prostitution being carried on out of premises he either owned or had a not insignificant interest in and that he was involved in prostitution and participated in the receipt of monies earned from that source”.

I wonder if Justice Flick talks like that at home. It would be torture for his family. Here’s what he should have written.

“The evidence establishes prostitution in premises he owned or had a substantial interest in, for which activity he received money”. Twenty‑three precise words saying exactly what the Judge said with nearly twice as many.

So given that Judges are formerly barristers and of necessity, barristers when cross‑examining are economical and succinct to be effective, what goes wrong once elevated to the throne to come out with “not insignificant” nonsense instead of simply “significant”? There would be few better experienced people than me to tell you why.

It comes down to a single practise, specifically when writing out their clients’ bills. Justifying their outrageous fees requires true creative artistry using as many (totally unnecessary) words as can be mustered. The principal objective is to maximise the length of their description as to their efforts.

In my previous office (we shift around our buildings periodically to enable the staff to know them intimately) the lessees above were QCs. I always knew when they were writing out their clients’ bills, the cigar smoke, clinking of wine glasses and celebratory mirth wafting down to us being the give‑away.

*Sir Robert (Bob) Jones is an occasional LawFuel contributor, writer and Wellington-based billionaire whose blog is at NoPunchesPulled.

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