Baby sitting judge

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

Baby sitting judgePerhaps seeking to demonstrate that work-life balance can, indeed, be achieved in the law, a Kiwi judge recently invited a group of school children to sit on the bench whilst…

Baby sitting judge

Perhaps seeking to demonstrate that work-life balance can, indeed, be achieved in the law, a Kiwi judge recently invited a group of school children to sit on the bench whilst he adjudicated a string of criminal cases.

But rather than applaud Manukau District Court judge Russell Johnsons initiative, defence lawyers slammed the new scheme.


Livid at having to plead their case before a bench of minors, advocates said clients were demeaned and belittled during their trial by juniors.

“These poor people, their lives are being dealt with ... one of the [schoolboys] had a supercilious look on his chops,” said lawyer Lorraine Smith who, like many of her peers, bemoaned the ‘lambs to the slaughter’ treatment of defendants before Kindergarten Court.

Although he received notice of the extreme dissatisfaction, Johnson elected to retain the bench, a senior registrar telling complainants that the students were amongst the brightest in the land it was an honour for them to sit with the judge.

Subsequent rumblings from those below, obviously not enjoying the opportunity to bask in the radiance of their pimply presiders, were rejected by Johnson, who warned he would order arrests if clients did not appear.

Confounding contraptions

Lawyers Weekly Discover

If we had a cupboard full of goodies to spare, a prize would no doubt be on offer for the reader who could provide the wittiest explanation for what the heck is going on in the accompanying cartoon.

We’ve got no idea, and with nothing but paper clips and staples in storage, no goodies, time spent working this one out will have to be allocated on a pro bono basis.

However, we are told it is part of the legally flavoured work of animator and political cartoonist Bruce Petty.

At 10:20pm on 2 December, this and other images will be screened on ABC in the first of a 10-part series dubbed “Human Contraptions”.

We are told it will be “a witty, provocative and entertaining exploration of the law”. If you are inclined to think the adjacent image suggests as much, then we implore you to tune in.

Going the Hull hog

It’s not hard to see why Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls made it to the upper echelons of state politics: the man seems to have been born with the gift of being unable to admit he was wrong.

Like the fine and charismatic politician he is, Hulls was at it again last week trying to put a positive spin on the damning results of a public poll that rejected his plan to abolish wigs and gowns in courts.

Writing for Melbourne tabloidThe Herald Sun, Hulls implied that “a pro-wig faction” of lawyers was responsible for 54 per cent of respondents opting for retention.

What ‘Head Kicker’ forgot to mention was that another survey, conducted exclusively within the legal profession, was simultaneously carried out.

But, as reported by Folklaw on numerous occasions, lawyers couldn’t be bothered to answer and the few responses received were scrapped.

Why, then, would this fervent, ardent, seething, group of wig-and-gown fanatics, who allegedly went to great time and effort to skew the findings of a wider poll, not bother answering one directed specifically at them?

Blinded by the facts on record and moved purely by suspicion, the A-G said he will effectively ignore the sentiments of the voting public and push ahead with his pet project.

Tax payers are entitled to ask the obvious question: what’s the point?

PR disaster

Like most editorially orientated products, Folklaw absolutely loves public relations departments — especially when they happen to mistakenly leave incriminating messages on one’s voicemail.

Last week, we received a delightful sample of the sentiments PR agents for one of Australia’s top-tier firms possess towards ‘not-for-profit’ work.

Two young female flacks opted to air the intimate details of a full-blown gossip session on speaker, with Folklaw miraculously on hand at the other end to capture every word.

In the thick of yet another day’s hectic spin doctoring, one of the PR princesses was apparently in quite a flap over having to deal with — of all things — a charitable brief.

Presumably assured of the sanctity of her surrounds, the lady offered some choice words, none of which we can remember appearing in any of the firm’s press releases, to express herself.

“F%$k off — I’m not interested in not-for-profit,” the poor darling was heard to say.

Understandably upset and emotional at being singled out to promote the cause of such worthless institutions, she continued: “They always pinpoint me... I couldn’t give a shit. I want organisations with money, honey!”

Very sweet indeed.

Baby sitting judge
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