But who will judge the judges?

Richard Ingrams Sunday February 27, 2000 The Observer

Judges who are surrounded everyday by obsequious lawyers paying them absurd compliments and laughing immoderately at their generally poor attempts at humour, tend to get very angry if they are attacked in the press.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, is proposing that in future judges should be allowed to sue for libel and to do so with the help of legal aid from the public funds.

Irvine, by all accounts a pompous, self-important fellow, is known to be extremely sensitive to any press attacks concerning himself.

He was mortified when the papers exposed his grand refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's apartments at the House of Lords, and when knocked for comparing himself to Cardinal Wolsey wrote an angry letter to the Times in self-defence.

Continuing disrespectful references to the fact that he had long ago gone off with the wife of his Cabinet colleague Donald Dewar drew from Irvine a 2,500-word memo sent to the editors of all the national newspapers attempting to put a happy gloss on that unfortunate affair.

The record of judges in recent years has scarcely been impressive.

(Would there be any continuing debate about Lord Archer's famous libel action, had it not been for the idiotic judge, the late Sir Bernhard Caulfield, drooling over the 'fragrant' Mary Archer?)

Allowing them to sue will only enhance the generally low regard in which they are currently held, especially as the libel actions will be heard by their fellow judges - scarcely the most impartial of arbiters.


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