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My opponent today was truly worse than I am in court and I have to admit that that’s saying something for most of my court appearances except those rare occasions when I somehow manage to luck out with a Busker impression or a judge getting the wrong end of the stick. But today, my opponent wasn’t bad due to inexperience. That in itself I would hope is forgiveable. No, my opponent has been practising for over twenty years and was very clearly the worse for it.

I’m going to call her TheHamster since the only way to describe her style in court is like the very worst ham actor in the very worst amateur dramatic pantomime in the very worst town in the worst area of England. It was like she’d watched endless re-runs of Perry Mason and AllyMcBeal and decided that that was how a lawyers should perform in court. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of both of those shows. But unless you are aged eighty and perhaps a former attorney general addressing the House of Lords in the case of the decade, you do not go about addressing the court with the sorts of airs and graces you might see in those old programmes. But even that would be to understate her performance I’m afraid.

Unfortunately, it also meant that the case lasted about ten times longer than it should have done.  Which was clear from the moment my opponent started going through every page of the pleadings and evidence even as she introduced the case.  To cap it all, the judge was a deputy district judge and was clearly pretty new to the job and so didn’t have the guts to interrupt my opponent. Then when it came to cross-examining my client, she got up from her seat, left the court room to the astonishment of us all and then came bursting back in and confronted him with: “Now.  When I left the room, with which hand did I open the door?”
To which he answered: “No idea.”
“Aha.”  She replied.  “Which obviously shows that your visual memory is unreliable, wouldn’t you agree?”

At which we all heard the judge utter under his breath “what rubbish”.

Then when it came to submissions on what was nothing more than a tiny car case, my opponent finished with: “Sir, if you find for the other side, you may as well rip up the Highway Code” at which point she took her copy of the Code and ripped it in half.

As if this was somehow going to help her case. Which was only made worse when the judge turned to TheHamster and said: “That was my copy you just destroyed.”


Oh, it will perhaps come as no surprise that she lost.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan. You can buy the latest BabyBarista novel, 'Law and Peace' on Amazon. The cartoons are by Alex Williams, author of The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus.


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