Deference in the courtroom is usually reserved for courteous barristers obsequiously observing the rank of whichever judge happens to be before them. But complacent judges, if Sir Sydney Kentridge QC happens to grace your courtroom, beware.
Making an appearance last week for Sinclair Roche & Temperley in its application for leave to appeal an earlier finding of negligence, Lord Justices Waller and Parker failed to observe the required etiquette. Following several hours of Kentridge's submissions, the pair then endured the horrifying revelation that they had failed to address the courtroom legend correctly, omitting to recognise his knighted status. Credit the pair, though, for promptly moving to correct the situation, with one immediately offering profuse apologies, accepting that the error was particularly unforgivable considering all the years he had known the great man.
Waller and Parker were further embarrassed when, having interrupted Kentridge again to say that the paragraphs they were being referred to contained different text to that read out in court, Kentridge pointed out that they had copies of the draft first instance judgment rather than the one actually handed down. Still no flies on Sir Sydney then.