Addleshaws, the maverick judge and a big fat telling-off

A judge getting slammed by the Court of Appeal? A judge in discussions with a law firm for a new job?

It’s the knockout story of the day. The national firm is about to find itself at the centre of the biggest controversy to hit the bench in years.

It goes like this. Addleshaws said no to High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Smith, who was angling for a job in the litigation department (see story).

Then, nervous that its rejection may have caused bad feeling, the firm asked Smith J to recuse himself from an upcoming trial in which it was involved.

But Smith J refused. Addleshaws wasn’t happy. And so the firm went to the Court of Appeal.

It won. Big time.

Master of the Rolls Sir Anthony Clarke said Smith J’s conduct underlined the fact that he was “personally involved”. Ouch!

This is not the first time that the Court of Appeal has launched a stinging attack on the judge.

Following the Da Vinci Code judgment Lord Justice Lloyd said he found Smith J’s original judgment was “not easy to read or to understand”. He added: “It might have been preferable for him [Smith J] to have allowed himself more time for the preparation, checking and revision of the judgment.”

All is not lost for Smith J, though. We hear some firms still have vac schemes open.