09:54

Are judges out of touch?

I went to a charity dinner recently in the Great Hall of Lincoln's Inn - a
magnificent Victorian paeon to the medieval gothic. The Inns of Court are
the closest in London to Oxford and Cambridge colleges, havens of quiet
away from the hurly-burly of the City and the West End,

Their denizens, the barristers, Queen's Councillors, firms of family
solicitors and judges exist in a world that for many, if not most, has been
familiar throughout their lives. The halls and courts look similar to their
schools - Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Westminster and, indeed, any of the
19th century  public school creations. From there they moved to the
colleges of Oxbridge, dining in Hall and living in sets in the courts and
quads, looked after by college servants - scouts and bedders depending on
whether their college was on the Cam or the Cherwell

The Inns of Court would be entirely familiar, with similar clubs,
traditions and servants. Those that work there may go through their whole
life knowing little else. Out of touch? It would be hard not to be.

Great Hall, Lincoln's Inn, London

The Great (or New) Hall, Lincoln's Inn. Philip Hardwick, with Philip Charles Hardwick. 1843-45. London, WC2. Photograph and caption by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009.
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