Baron Walker, a smart judge but a lousy speaker

August 16, 2007 |

I guess the name says it all.  The guest speaker was Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, or should I say The Right Honourable Sir Robert Walker, Knight, a Lord Justice of Appeal,  appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and created Baron Walker of Gestingthorpe, of Gestingthorpe in the County of Essex, for life by Letters Patent dated 1st October 2002.  And his speech on the operation of the British Human Rights Act from a judges perspective was about as interesting.  The curse of the law is that the aridness and precision of the language leeches into our souls.  Words aren’t the means to express ideas, enchant, excite or seduce. Their purpose is to give effect to an argument.  That’s fine when it comes to practising our black arts. But for a speech, even to crusty lawyers, requires something more.  Hell, the human rights is all about drama, politics and philosophy in motion.  From time to time we got a hint of excitement but then his Lordship (as one of the questioners in the audience addressed him.  I mean C’MON!  How poncey is that.  I don’t care whether he is a Lord across the ways I refuse to address anyone in those terms – unless they are wearing a Mikado outfit) quickly returned to the arid landscape or legal erudition, 18th century style. 

I suspect his speech will do better on paper. 

The night wasn’t a bust though.  The Banco Court is a brilliant venue.  It has been spectacularly refurbished.

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