Hearing voices

“My opponent’s voice completely changed when he went into court today,” said TheVamp. “One minute, he was negotiating all down to earth and normal and then suddenly…”

“His voice flew to the back of his throat?” said TheBusker.

“Yes. As if on entering the court he suddenly felt the need to sound posh.”
“I’ve had that quite a few times,” said TheBusker. “It’s as if they’ve watched too many ancient courtroom movie scenes and think that’s how a barrister should speak.”

“Straight from Uxbridge to Oxbridge,” said OldSmoothie.

“He was definitely that type,” said TheVamp, ignoring the last comment. “Every few words of his cross-examination seemed to involve an ‘I put it to you’.”

“Ouch,” said TheBusker.

“Along with mentioning ‘the great common law of England and Wales’ and worst of all ‘passed by our sovereign mother of all parliaments’ in the context of the Road Traffic Act.”

“Sounds like a solicitor-advocate to me,” said OldSmoothie.

“You’re hardly one to start casting aspersions about airs and graces,” said BusyBody. “The king of long-winded pomposity himself.”

“Well, I did wonder whether he was terribly experienced,” said TheVamp. “Although the truth came out when he admitted that he was currently doing his fourth third six.”

“Wouldn’t that mean it was his sixth six?” said TheCreep.


“I have to say that I’d take the ones that turn posh to the old advocates whose voice just turn impatient and bitter,” said BusyBody.

“Or those whose voices go so high with nerves that they can’t quite get a sentence out without it sounding like a question,” said HeadofChambers.
“Or the whiny young barristers who take everything their opponent says personally,” said UpTights.

OldSmoothie’s jaw dropped at the lack of insight from the original courtroom screech but even he refrained from pointing out such a clanger.

“I once had an opponent who deliberately used to whisper her submissions,” said OldRuin. “It always proved extremely effective in getting the judge to wake up and take a note of the points being made.”

“I think my favourite is when a judge puts on his headmaster’s voice,” said TheVamp. “You can generally tell when that happens that all he wants above anything else in the whole world is just to get home and do something less boring instead. At that moment you know that he’ll do everything in his power to make the parties settle.”

“And give you all the rest of the day off,” said TheBusker.


BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

July 8, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Uncategorized