I have been very touched by the number of people, known and unknown, who have tweeted birthday wishes to me today. .And one of them has even gone so far as to bake me a virtual birthday cake: see the picture above.
It has been an interesting year, although how long I will continue to pass the medical MOT test for old crocks remains to be seen. I now go to funerals and thanksgiving services almost as often as I used to go to my friends’ weddings all those years ago.
From time to time I have been receiving very nice messages from complete strangers. This, the other day:
And this, a few weeks earlier:
It is a rare sight to see a former Lord Justice of Appeal engage with the general public through these fora, but a very welcome sight. I am particularly glad to see your continued writing on Legal Aid and Access to Justice, as for example your most recent entry on the Hackney Community Law Centre’s housing cases (which triggered this message), as a topic very close to my own heart.As someone who is currently working for a human rights / international criminal justice organization but also undertaking the GDL by distance learning with a view to, hopefully, a future career at the Bar in public law and human rights (or “social justice”, broadly defined), your blog has provided not only much inspiration to me but also very useful insights into the state of the justice system in the UK.I had been an undergraduate student of history and politics in England myself and had gotten a sense of the inequalities and problems prevailing e.g. while volunteering at the Oxford Food Bank, but have been out of the country for the last 5 years and had thus not witnessed the impact of some of the more recent changes myself. Your testimony to the much needed work of organizations such as the Hackney law centre, but also the Public Law Project, is impressive and I very much hope to be able to contribute to the work of these organizations once back in the UK next year and once legally qualified.Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to write these blog contributions, I believe they are quite essential to the public understanding of the justice system.
And this, from an unexpected quarter:
You might like to tell Sir Henry that I circulated the link to his blogpost about the cost of withdrawal from the EU to the 180+ strong Abergavenny Women’s network saying that it explained stuff I had no idea about in a way I just about understood and that they might be interested too.
Comments back included:
’Very illuminating and readable’
‘Thanks for sharing, Clare. I am a politics teacher and VERY interested.’
‘Thank you so much for passing this on. It makes interesting but worrying reading!’
‘Thank you very much for this – it’s a very clear and helpful explanation of the situation, though not particularly cheering!’
‘Clare, where did you find this treasure of a judge! It’s fascinating, this stuff that he is producing. I think I need to read it all at least another three or four times.’
Nobody called me a treasure of a judge during those far-off days on the Bench. Or if they thought it, they didn’t tell me.
So I will soldier on. I am re-organising some of the material on the site. I have opened a new menu item called PIPs which contains my writings abut PIPs, and a new menu item called “judgments” containing memorable first lines (and some other excerpts) from judgments past and present. And I will continue this editing process.
In addition to the cake I am posting a recent photograph taken at the end of the recent 24-hour Online Court Hackathon. It shows Professor Richard Susskind with both me and my predecessor as President of the Society of Computers and Law, Sir Brian Neill (94 next month).
A little bit of what we used to write about and dream about 30 years ago is now happening in our courts. The sinners are at long last repenting, but I suppose we will never receive any apology from HM Treasury for all those wasted years when they refused our courts the investment they so very badly and obviously needed. [I will reorder my writings on IT and the Law next]