Young Bar Protest Against Judicial Unpunctuality, 1919

From the Belfast Telegraph, 2 December 1919:

“Some judges and junior barristers acted a little comedy in the Four Courts yesterday. When Judge Samuels had disposed of some appeals, he left Court No 1… some 12 junior barristers having motions to move became impatient and left the Court, informing the Registrar that he could tell the Court they would not wait. A few minutes later, Mr Justice Gibson, Mr Justice Moore and Mr Justice Samuels took their seats on the Bench. they were unaware of the flight of the curls. The atmosphere of the court was, if possible, calmer than usual. There was not even a response when the Registrar called ‘ex parte motions.’ ‘[I]t could not have been the weather,’ argued Mr Justice Gibson, while a smile hovered about his mouth, ‘The morning was fine and fair.’ A few minutes later there was a swinging of curls, a swish of gowns and a trooping of wigs. The gentlemen of the Bar had arrived. Then – business as usual.”

The Evening Herald records a further protest in court no 1 on the morning of 18 December 1919, when a sitting of the court was announced for 11.30 but up to 11.45 no judge had arrived. About 20 members of the Junior Bar then left in a body. A little later word was received from Mr Justice Gibson that the Court would sit at 12 o’clock, and a message to this effect was dispatched to the Law Library, at which point some of the barristers who had left returned, and the ex parte motions were heard by Mr Justice Kenny.

Lovely description in the first piece. I love ‘the flight of the curls.’

Interesting that the Junior Bar was so united at a time when the country itself was in chaos. I wonder if the ongoing political upheavals had emboldened its members?

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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