The meeting opened at 1030 a.m. with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of three apologies. He also told members that Ken Burcher (now into his 90’s) is living with his son in Suffolk and will probably not attend again and we wish him well. It was a pleasure to see Tom Snelling’s grandson attend as a guest again.
Under “Initial Notices” John Taylor informed members about the Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall on Tuesday May 7th 2019–paperwork and menu choices made available. Menu choices and full payment to be made to John Taylor no later than Tuesday April 16th with the caveat that there is a limit on numbers of forty.
The third call for the A.G.M. regarding proposals and nominations was made and a list of Officer vacancies displayed.
Today’s Speaker was the Forum’s own His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. with his topic being “The Lighter Side of the Law”. For the next hour members were regally entertained and instructed by recollections and anecdotes from the legal world. He started his talk by advising that it had been pointed out that the Courts of Law provide the “… best free entertainment there is” encompassing all forms of theatre albeit with a serious front,. Derek told us about Justice Charles John Darling, a 19th century and early 20th century legal figure, who introduced appropriate jokes into his trials. We were told about the Muslim witness who took an oath to “…. to tell anything but the truth” and the young girl aged nine who addressed the Judge as “Your Majesty”!! Length of jury service and jurors provided a source of amusing memories as did the story of the forty-two year old promiscuous farm labourer. Hearing issues; falling asleep in court; pomposity and sometimes unpleasantness all provided their lighter legal moments and clever and witty interchanges between Judges, Barristers and Defendants also promoted light relief into the serious business of the legal process.
There were a few tales of pranks being played on each other by Barristers and Judges in trains and hotels which showed the human face of these imposing figures!!
The audience, as usual, had enjoyed the morning’s reminisces with questions and comments at the end. Richard Wright gave an amusing and appreciated Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY