This original and stimulating book provides an intriguing compendium of articles written by specialists on the use and misuse of humour as it relates to judges.
Anyone who, like me, has spent decades in courtrooms, first as a clerk, then as a junior lawyer, next as an advocate and eventually as a judicial officer, knows that humour is a regular companion. Generally, it is kept in the minor key because of the seriousness, solemnity and dignity of much judicial work. The litigants have come too far, they have felt too much stress, they have paid too much in fees, they have worried too much about the issues, to tolerate excessive humour concerning the matters for trial. Respect for the venue and the occasion, as well as respect for the litigants themselves, puts a brake upon too much humour, as this book demonstrates in several contexts. When that brake is released and humour overflows, it can sometimes be resented. It can even occasionally be called mockery, professional misconduct or contempt of court.