Digital sage

Judges are a modern sort, with their hip white wigs and trendy flowing robes. None more so than Lord Justice Aikens, who managed to weave references to a judgment from 1596 and Web 2.0 into one speech.

Aikens LJ gave a law lecture sponsored by KPMG on making trials shorter and cheaper. Unusually for a judge, he admitted that the bench might have to shoulder some share of the blame for the costly justice system.

Apparently, long judgments and wordy pleadings from lawyers are clogging up the system.

Aikens LJ referred to a litigant in 1596 who submitted a pleading of 120 pages. Said ne’er-do-well was fined and led around the courts of Westminster Hall with the 120-page pleading around his neck.

Aikens said: “Perhaps the 21st century equivalent would be a suitable entry in YouTube or Facebook.”

This comes from the very same judge who jailed a man for taking pictures on his mobile phone in court in 2004. It seems Aikens LJ has come to terms with the anarchic digital age.

Tulkinghorn digs it and is available for poking should anyone wish to discuss this further.