Over the last few days I have received out of the blue via my Contact Page two unsolicited tributes to what I have been trying to achieve through my blogs over the last 18 months.
The first came from a lawyer in Hong Kong who wrote:
“I have been a collector of biographies and autobiographies of Australian, UK and US judges, including those by Garfield Barwick, Kerr, Nicholls, Millett and many others. I recommended these biographies and autobiographies to fellow lawyers and no one is ever interested in reading another book about/by judges with a black and white photo on the cover (especially when they are already reading/bored by written judgments already). If they have a choice, they would rather read more interesting ones by authors of fiction, etc.
The writing of legal history/legal anecdotes through the internet will make them more accessible to the public. Picking up and buying a book written by a judge may be a difficult thing for most people/lawyers, but reading articles online for free is a completely different story. People may be researching some legal terms or background of certain legal icons by Google and they can read online articles with ease. For example, I found your blog because I googled the phrase “Treasury Devil” (which I knew what it meant superficially before I read your article).
I strongly believe your blog will make more readers understand and become interested in English common law history, culture and profession. This is a very admirable and unprecedented feat for a very senior judge.
One more point: most legal biographies/autobiographies in book form may be forgotten and hidden in the bookshelves of a law library. Your articles will always exist on the internet and accessible to all. Your articles will be “immortal”. Thank you for this, Sir Henry.
The other, three days later, came from a practising barrister in England:
I am a long-time admirer of your invaluable blog….
Thank you … for the peerless public resource that your blog has quickly become. As I am sure you hear often, its contribution to public legal education has been inestimable, and I for one am extremely grateful for the time you take to increase awareness of our often impenetrable system.
I am quoting these two messages because they have made me pleased to think that in the view of two of my readers, at least. I am achieving what has always been the central drving force between what I have been posting on this site:
to demystify the practice of the law;
to show that although some things undoubtedly change, at the heart of our legal and judicial system there have always been (and I hope always will be) many, many men and women who have been doing their honest and honourable best to provide a system of justice that meets people’s everyday needs;
and to try to show that although the practice of the law will always be hard work, and although we are in a certain sense facing unprecedented obstacles and difficulties today in the absolutely vital corner of the market that is dependent on public funding, it can and also should be fun.
A clear understanding of the importance of the rule of law has never been more essential.
And I will go on blogging away, at any rate so long as my health holds up, in a continuing effort to explain what it means to so many different people in so many different ways.