Allow me to introduce you to Mr Justice X. He has retired, of course – but he is still thinking, still watching and still has JUDGMENT.
I met Mr Justice X some time ago in the most curious circumstances. I happened to be having a drink down at El Vino’s in Fleet Street, sitting at the back. The “Ties Mandatory” rule had gone, and ladies, of course, had been allowed through the hallowed portal. As it happens, I was wearing a tie… a drinking society tie… rather exclusive. I was reading The Times Law section, naturally, when they did a proper law section on Tuesdays.
“Anyone sitting there?” I heard this deep sonorous voice. The voice appeared to come from above. I turned to find the craggy features of a gentleman wearing a pinstripe suit, stiff collar, silk tie. His black Church’s brogues were over thirty years old but were highly polished. He had a white handerchief folded in his top pocket. A distinguished gentleman.
“No… please do sit down” I replied.
“What are you drinking?” the gentleman asked.
“Good grief… Bourbon wine… very well.”
He got up, walked over to the bar and returned with a bottle of Rioja and two glasses. I was both delighted and baffled when he poured both glasses. I enjoy a drink, but I tend not to set one up in advance as a spare.
The gentleman pushed the glass towards me… “To the King of bloody Spain!” and drained half the glass. It was then I realised that the second glass was for me. I picked my glass up, made a circular motion with the glass, and said “To the King across the water… Jacobus.”
The gentleman laughed “You’re a Scot. Don’t sound like one. Sound like a bloody news reader… are you a news reader?”
“No, I am not a news reader… I am a blogger… Charon QC.”
“You are a QC?”
“No.. I’m a blogger. I gave myself silk when The Lord Chancellor stopped dishing them out a few years ago.”
“Excellent… good idea.” the gentleman said, laughing and draining the remainder of the wine from his glass. “Drink up… we have much to talk about and, I notice from your tie, that you are a Toper.” With that my drinking companion, as I now viewed him, poured the rest of the bottle into my glass and then his.
“I was a judge many years ago… Henry is the name I use now. High Court. Too stupid and too difficult and too often appealed to get any further. I keep up of course by reading the odd bit of gossip… been looking at all this talk of wigs and gowns… ridiculous, really…. but as my old friend Lord Donaldson said years ago… ” I cannot see the point now of discarding something which has been out of date for at least a century.”
And that is how I met Mr Justice X … Henry, as he likes to be known, is going to be an occasional columnist. I have absolutely no idea what he is going to write about. He promises to write only after a few glasses but may shoehorn in a bit of law. A kindred spirit.