RSS Feed

Top Judge slams telly chef Quickie Divorce


I have grumbled from time to time on Twitter about how there only seem to be two sorts of Judges in England according to the Press  – “Top Judge” if they are saying something the newspaper agrees with / are involved in a saucy scandal, and “Out of Touch Judge” if they are saying something the newspaper doesn’t agree with.  I am also pretty regularly driven to ire by the formulation “Quickie Divorce” which newspapers routinely state celebrities are getting, as though there were some special Matrimonial Causes Act which applies only to celebrities and not to mere mortals – those people on television can get their “quickie divorce” whereas you ordinary folk have to make do with divorce at a snails pace, probably with the petition being carefully prepared by Dickensian lawyers with quill pens. For heaven’s sake, the Matrimonial Causes Act which let people divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour without having to prove adultery or wait two years is only forty years old.   It’s hardly some new-fangled initiative.


Having grumbled, I have now stumbled – upon this book which deals with “journalese” the strange mangling of the English language which feels the need to use the expression “innocent victims”  (as opposed to those ones who were asking for it), “slide rule pass” – using a metaphor for a type of mathematical calculating device that hasn’t been used in schools for 40 years, and the curious conceit by which hot temperatures are still expressed in Fahrenheit (which again, left common use thirty to forty years ago) whilst cold ones are expressed in centrigrade


Romps, Tots and Boffins


It is very funny, and a rattlingly good read.

It did get me thinking of “legalese” – not the stuff like “Easements” and “Notwithstanding”, but the expressions that seem to only be used by lawyers, a job which after all is 50% communication (the remainder being paperwork and worrying) and which are fairly impenetrable.  The stock word “draconian” for example, I think only sees usage now in Court rooms and for most non-lawyers who hear it means either next to nothing or “A bit like that blonde nasty lad in Harry Potter”


Here are some of my legalese suggestions – others gladly received


On all fours with  (It’s quite similar to another case in precedent)

At first blush  (I originally thought X, and I bet you did too, but you’re wrong, and here’s why)

Not all my geese are swans (my client turns out to be a liar/wife-beater/back on heroin)

Getting my ducks in a row (I haven’t read much of this yet, and I need to sort things out)

I know not   (I do love this one, it is the only way to say “I don’t know” in a way that sort of makes you sound smart)

This debate has generated more heat than light  (This is a stupid argument, and I’m bored of it)

My client has yet to crystallise their position  (I did steal and use this myself – again, it sounds much better than “We haven’t made up our mind yet”)

My client is entitled to a fair hearing, you know  (I have already decided what I’m spending this brief fee on, so I’m not giving up)

The situation remains somewhat fluid  (Your Honour, if you had been outside court, you would have seen that all hell is breaking loose)

The Court has yet to get under the bonnet of this case (we haven’t so far been in front of a Judge who has read any of the papers)

That is of course, an option (are you mad?)

Perhaps the inherent jurisdiction offers a solution  (I can’t think of an order that will let the Court do what I’m asking for)

I hear what you’re saying  (no)

Let me get back to you on that (no)

Let me just run that past my client (no)

Having taken instructions on that issue (warning, forthcoming no)

19 responses »

  1. From the world of accident claims, “the index accident”, and the use of “third party” to refer to just about everyone other than your own client.

  2. A phrase I have only ever heard in legal proceedings ” on a frolic of his own” , which puts me in mind of cartoons of rotund , bald gentlemen dancing around with spats and gaiters!

  3. “A second bite at the cherry”. Allegedly this is also used in non-legal context but I’ve never seen it. Why a cherry? Why not an apple, or a cheeseburger?

    • I wonder if it has something to do with a cherry being small, so generally you only get one bite of one before it is gone, so asking for a second bite of the same cherry is unreasonable/impossible? My quick googling did not find an answer though.

  4. ‘I know not’ – yes! One or two of m’learned friends resort to that one in court, but never in the queue at the chippy when uncertain whether to order large or small mushy peas. Well spotted.

  5. The claim is without merit (we want to beat you before you even get started)

    There is some house keeping your honour (not all of us did all we should have before the hearing) or (we are slipping things in we should have thought about earlier)

    You honour might like to take note of (im going to spell it out to clearly you so you dont make a mistake and we have to appeal your judgement)

    Whilst I respect my learned friends view (your an idiot and here is why) or (you have given me an open goal)

    If I could remind the court (We have covered this point but you may be: deaf, senile, have been sleeping)

  6. That is of course, an option (are you mad?)

    Love it!

  7. It the court is mindful to (this way this way, we want to go this way, can I nudge you in this direction

  8. Costs are escalating (Deal with this faster, I want to get paid sooner rather than later as I’ve already got a good wack in this one)

  9. Another

    I hear what you’re saying (but im not taking any notice) or (but your clearly wrong)

  10. If I might venture to add (Im on a sticky wicket but will try my luck)

    If it pleases the court (friendly judge test)

    If I might say (I love to hear the sound of my own voice)

  11. Pingback: Judicial separation: What’s it all about?

  12. Pingback: Consent to adoption where the parent is themselves still a child | HOLLIE GREIG JUSTICE

  13. “I’m afraid we may be in difficulties…”
    Meaning: “you Sunshine, are fu*ked”


  15. My fav has to be ‘If I may turn my back for a moment’ (translation; I haven’t a clue; I have actually seen quite animated convos in court at this stage.) My second is ‘As my learned friend states’ (translation ‘Contrary to the views of the T”t to my left..)

    This all reminds me of an old joke. Which may not translate well. A university student needed to sit one last exam to gain his degree. He realised it was ‘only; English Lit.; ‘any idiot can do that,’ So…of course, he went out and spent the night drinking instead of studying.’ The next morning, with a stinking hangover, he got to the exam on time. He opened the paper. ‘The Literature of the Middle Ages can be described as moribund. Please present your argument for or against with evidence.’

    After 30 minutes of nothing; he had the answer ‘There are those who say the Literature of the Middle Ages was moribund. There are whose who say the Literature of the Middle Ages WAS NOT (bold underlined) moribund. For one to answer this question, one must have a working knowledge of the Literature of the Middle Ages; which I wish to F I had right now.’

    I have spent too many hours in hearings with ‘surprises’ and people bluffing…when I see it, I always think of that punch line.

  16. Hiya! Fantastic blog! I happen to be a daily visitor to your site (somewhat more like addict ) of this website. Just wanted to say I appreciate your blogs and am looking forward for more to come!

  17. Easy to follow, easy to read…heck I had to leave a commment!


Leave a Reply to Paul Hart Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: