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									             SPEECH BY SIR BRIAN KERR, LORD CHIEF JUSTICE

Launch of the University of Ulster Graduate School of Professional Legal Studies
                                   __________

              “The Role of the Legal Profession in Northern Ireland”
                                   __________

                                   Magee College
                                   11 March 2009
                                    __________

Vice Chancellor Provost, Director, students, staff, families, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to have been invited to this significant occasion in the life of Magee
College and indeed of the legal profession in this city. The banks of the Foyle have
been a seat of learning and of law for a very long time. Saint Columba established
his monastic settlement here around 550 AD, on the site of an oak grove which
would previously have been sacred to the druids. They were adjudicators and
political advisers as well as priests in pre-Christian Ireland - so the tradition of
scholarship – and legal scholarship in particular - has been a long and venerable one
here.

Magee College was founded in 1845, and joined the University of Ulster in 1984. The
Law School now has 130 students on this campus, in both single and joint honours
courses. With the opening of the Graduate School of Legal Education, 30 solicitor
students will now be able to complete a full professional legal education in the North
West. That is a matter for satisfaction and sense of achievement, not only for the
university and the students who have embarked on the course, but also for the entire
community.

The Director has asked me to speak to you about the role of the legal profession in
Northern Ireland. This is a theme with potentially limitless elements or aspects and I
will choose only a few this evening. But may I say first that it is always a pleasure
for me to speak to those just starting out on their legal careers for it gives me
occasion to reflect on the happiness and sense of satisfaction that I experienced in my
life as a practising barrister. Many things, of course, have changed since I became a
lawyer in 1970. Who would have thought then, for instance, that the three judges in
the Court of Appeal would sit with their personal computers rather than a raft of legal
texts resting on the bench before them? Or that we would be able to download on to
our computers, the entire recording of the day’s proceedings?

Some things, however, never change and one of those is that to be successful in our
profession there is no substitute for hard work and dedication. Dedication in the world
that you will inhabit as professional lawyers, of course, will extend not only to your
clients and to your colleagues. Dedication is required of you above all to the law and


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to the system of justice that we must all strive to preserve and uphold. You will not
merely be lawyers, you will be members of a profession whose purpose is to serve the
community and the concept of justice – or perhaps in the fuller phrase, of justice
according to law.

To do justice according to law

There is a story about the famous American judge Oliver Wendell Homes, who, on
his way to court one day, gave a younger lawyer a lift in his carriage. As he got
down at his destination, the younger man quipped “Do justice, Justice!” The great
jurist leaned out of the window as the carriage pulled away and said “That’s not my
job.” What he meant of course is that it is not the role of a lawyer or judge to apply
his or her own values – his personal or perhaps idiosyncratic sense of justice - to a
case. It is his duty to apply the law and to apply it with all the dispassionate
impartiality that the rule of law demands.

That is my first – and central - point. The essential role of a solicitor, a barrister or a
judge in Northern Ireland, as in anywhere else, is to apply the law to all cases. It does
not matter what the circumstances may be; whether a case is straightforward or
difficult; whether it involves an esoteric point of statutory interpretation or
calamitous human tragedy. All cases must be decided according to law. To do
otherwise, to import into our deliberations our own personal values or prejudices,
would be to undermine the principles of justice that we seek to uphold, in particular
the fundamental principle that a democracy is ruled by law, not by the decrees of
autocrats or the predilections of those who administer the law.

I am sure that all of you who are lawyers, or law students, in this room have had a
well-meaning friend or relation say to them, “I don’t know how you could defend
someone if you know they’re guilty”. The answer to this perennial query is a simple
one. It is also fundamental to a proper understanding of a lawyer’s role. It is an
elementary precept of our system of law that a defendant is innocent until proved
guilty. No single person or agency performs all the roles that combine to produce a
mode of trial that is just and fair. Each participant in the criminal process has a role
to play – the judge to rule on the law, the jury to make findings of fact (and they are
the ultimate and only arbiters of guilt and innocence in indictable crime), the
prosecution to put their case fairly and the defence to put the defendant’s case to the
court, at its proper and reasonable height. If any of those individuals fails to perform
their role, then we fall short of the goal of doing “justice according to law”. To apply
the law transparently, independently and with integrity is a solemn and daunting
duty but it is one which we must never fail to strive to fulfil.

The sharpness of the challenge that this duty can demand of us as lawyers and
judges may perhaps be best illustrated by taking an example from the complicated
area of sentencing. Sentencing is among the most difficult tasks that a judge has to
perform. It is also one of the most grotesquely misrepresented. The example that I




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will give is not of a real case but it combines features of various cases that have been
dealt with over the past few years in the Court of Appeal.

A man is killed after being attacked by another in the street. One’s immediate
reaction to a death in such circumstances is of revulsion and instinctively one might
be drawn to a substantial sentence. That instinctive reaction might be reinforced by
a moving letter from the victim’s mother, graphically describing the family grief at
the death of a much loved son, brother etc. On further examination of the case it
transpires that both victim and offender are street alcoholics. But should that make
any difference? The life of an alcoholic is just as precious to those who love him as
any other. Should the defendant’s inebriation at the time of the offence make a
difference? On the one hand, alcohol is well recognised as lowering the controls and
inhibitions that operate to restrain us from criminal activity. On the other hand,
voluntary intoxication cannot be a defence to criminal offending. But should the
penalty be adjusted to take account of the fact that this was a crime that the
defendant would never have committed if he had been sober? And what if it
transpires that the victim attacked the defendant first and that the fatal blow was
struck in retaliation but went well beyond what was required in reasonable self
defence? Or that the blow was not the immediate cause of death but merely caused
the victim to lose balance and fall, striking his head on a kerbstone? What if medical
evidence established that the victim had a latent hitherto undiagnosed medical
condition which rendered him vulnerable to head injury? Then turning to the
defendant’s personal circumstances: what difference would it make if he had
expressed remorse? How does one tell if professed remorse is genuine or merely
sorrow for one’s own plight? What if the defendant has made a real effort to
conquer his addiction to alcohol while on remand awaiting trial? And if the
probation officer in a pre-sentence report advises that if he is sent to prison, the good
work that has already been undertaken will be undone? Alternatively, what if the
defendant has shown a well developed propensity to violence in the past and has
evinced no intention to reform? What if he came from a wholly disadvantaged
background?      Finally, how are the feelings of the bereaved family to be
accommodated in the sentencing disposal? What if some members of the family
have suffered a severe, even a disabling grief reaction? How does one reconcile the
competing aspects of culpability (which in the example that I have given may be
quite low) with the calamitous, although unintended, effects of the blow struck by
the defendant?

This wide range of factors is by no means untypical in terms of number and scale of
the sentencing challenges that are presented daily to the courts. But those that I have
recounted are not at all exhaustive of the matters that the sentencing judge must take
into account. She or he must also bear in mind whether a plea of guilty has been
entered and if so at what time, the guidance to be given by various guideline cases in
the Court of Appeal, statutory sentence maxima and various statutory injunctions as
to which matters are to be considered. It can be seen, therefore, that sentencing is a
daunting exercise. It involves the striking of a balance between often sharply




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conflicting factors. It can also be a nuanced enterprise requiring great subtlety and
insight.

It is unquestionably, however, a task which requires the assistance of the legal
profession and one of the duties of the legal professionals in any case is to bring all
relevant authorities and material information to the attention of the court. This is
perhaps the second principal message that I would like to impart to you. The
conduct of litigation takes place in an adversarial setting but that does not mean that
the interplay between judge and lawyer or indeed between lawyer and lawyer
should be irredeemably antagonistic. You should fight your corner tenaciously but
with fairness and even-handedness at all times. You will owe a duty to all your
clients which you must discharge conscientiously and diligently but your overriding
duty is to uphold the rule of law. And that requires of you that you ensure that the
court is not misled and that all material necessary to properly inform its decision
should not be withheld even if it may not be to the obvious advantage of your client.
And so, to revert briefly to the sentencing example again, if you represent the
defendant, it is your duty to be fully apprised of all information relevant to the
issues that I have outlined and to be fully aware of all pertinent earlier judicial
decisions. And you must ensure that the court is fully acquainted with all of them,
including, as I have said, those which do not conspicuously help your client but
which are germane to the decision that it must reach.

A court appearance by a lawyer which is not founded on sound knowledge and
careful, conscientious preparation will not fool a judge, no matter how skilful the
presentation. If the substance is not present this will be readily detected, not only by
the court but also, more tellingly, by a client. But of even greater importance than
this is the consideration that an advocate who fails to do his job can imperil the
delivery of justice according to law in an individual case. May I enjoin those of you
who are students of the Graduate School never to find yourselves in that unenviable
position?

Human rights and the importance of the legal profession

Of course, any lawyer who simply applies the law like an automaton, without
thought or creativity is also failing in his or her duty. The law may be ambiguous. It
may not fit comfortably into to a previously unencountered situation. Literal
application of a legal instrument can give rise to an obvious injustice. At some point,
a value judgment has to be made, and it behoves all legal professionals – solicitors,
barristers and judges – to be aware of the values that they bring to bear in those
moments.

But if, in those moments, judges or practitioners fail to be guided by law and import
their own views of justice, they undermine the rule of law which is the essential
underpinning of a democratic society. Of course, there have always been structures
within our legal system for dealing with injustice under law. That, as you all know,
was the origin of the rules of equity developed by successive Lords Chancellors in



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the Middle Ages in the Court of Chancery. Where the common law fell short, the
court of equity would provide just that. But, despite the best efforts of Lord Denning
and others, one might say that the rarefied world of Chancery is now hardly the first
place one thinks of to remedy miscarriages of justice.

In recent years an important new mechanism has been added to the apparatus to
which practitioners and judges may have resort in order to resolve the hard cases
where law and justice seem to diverge. The Human Rights Act 1998 made the rights
enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights part of our law and
enforceable in our courts for the first time.

I should say, as an aside, that I have followed the Bill of Rights debate in Northern
Ireland with interest. Let me make it clear, however, that whether, and, if so which,
additional rights are enacted as a result of the Human Rights Commission’s
recommendations is a matter for the elected organs of the state, and I do not intend
to comment on it. That is a matter of policy and judges recognise that that is not our
domain. We may be asked to consider what practical problems may be anticipated
in the implementation of policy but our function is not to comment on the policy
itself. That is part of the separation of powers. Policy is for Government and the
Legislature. Equally adjudication on the laws created by Parliament and the
Executive is a matter for the judges and, inasmuch as we will respect and defer to the
role of those organs in creating statutory law, so will we steadfastly resist any
interference with its application in the discharge of our judicial function.

Has the Human Rights Act dramatically changed our law? There have been a few
areas in which the European Convention has re-directed the development of our law
on a somewhat different course than it might otherwise have taken. Students of a
particular type of paparazzi-led magazine will know that the right to privacy has
been a particularly busy area for litigation in cases such as Douglas and Jones v Hello
Magazine and Campbell v Mirror Newspapers.

A more substantial and significant area in which the law in Northern Ireland has
developed as a result of human rights is, of course, in relation to the State’s duty to
investigate deaths caused by state agents or while the deceased was in the control of
the state. The European Court of Human Rights in the Northern Ireland cases of
McCann and Jordan (shootings of civilians by security forces) described the
indispensable content of such an investigation. As a result of those rulings, the law
in Northern Ireland has changed in relation to three elements of inquests in
particular; the non-compellability of witnesses; the fact that the Coroner was
required to confine his investigation into the matters directly causative of the death;
and the verdict which a jury in a Coroner's Court can give.

The way in which the law was changed as a result of those decisions provides a
good illustration of the concept of the separation of powers. Some of the matters on
which the European Court ruled were proactively dealt with by the government.
For example, the legal rule that a person suspected of being involved in the death



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could not be compelled to give evidence at the inquest was amended by legislation.
This was an example of the legislature responding to the ruling of the European
Court. The Director of Public Prosecutions voluntarily undertook to review his
decision not to prosecute after the inquest had made its findings. He now has a
policy on the giving of reasons on his decisions whether or not to prosecute. Thus,
an emanation of the state adjusted his position in accordance with the judgment.
But, the key question whether the coroner and his jury could, and should,
investigate the wider circumstances surrounding the death, or merely its cause was
dealt with by the courts, both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal.

The Jordan family launched a number of judicial reviews which gave us, the
domestic courts in Northern Ireland, the opportunity to consider several different
aspects of what an “Article 2 compliant” inquest required. I heard some of these
cases in my then capacity as the first instance judge dealing with judicial review in
this jurisdiction. I do not intend to examine the detail of those decisions but what
one may observe generally about the series of Jordan cases is that it required the
courts to examine – indeed, to interrogate - our practical, local procedures for
investigating deaths and to make sure that Article 2’s requirement for effective
investigation of deaths through the actions of the State was met in our domestic
context. The key requirement was that an effective mechanism should be available
to assess the lawfulness of the force used, and, if necessary, to secure a prosecution
which would assess the guilt of any individual who may have been responsible for
the death. Jordan in effect led to the legal changes which have made our inquest
system better able to meet those purposes.

The biggest change which the Human Rights Act has wrought, in my view, is in
giving judges and lawyers an agreed vocabulary and structure within which to
discuss the difficult value judgments at the limits of law. It is the language of rights
that we now often use to clarify ambiguities and to remedy possible injustices and
defects.

The Human Rights Act allows us to judge State action by an objective yardstick. One
case which I think demonstrates this very well was dealt with in 2007 by the NI
Divisional Court - Re an application by C and others [2007 NIQB 101]. For only the
second time since I became Lord Chief Justice, we gave leave for the case to be
appealed to the House of Lords and judgment in that case has been delivered this
morning. The decision reached by a majority of the Court of Appeal was upheld by
a majority of 4 to 1 in the House of Lords. The case dealt with the question whether
the police service could legally monitor private consultations between detained
persons and their solicitors and, in one instance, a doctor. The applicants had been
arrested and held at Antrim Police Station. They sought assurances from the police
that their private conversations with their solicitors, and doctor, would not be
subject to covert surveillance. The assurances were not forthcoming.

Because of the significance of the case, the Bar Council and British Irish Rights Watch
were permitted to intervene. Interference with the right to a fair trial under Article 6



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of the European Convention and with the right to privacy under Article 8 were
claimed and this gave us the framework within which to assess the rights and
wrongs of the situation. Two types of surveillance were considered in the judgments
that the Divisional Court gave. The first was “directed surveillance” that is to say
surveillance of consultations that took place in a police station (which was the
species of surveillance that would have occurred in these cases, although it never
emerged whether such monitoring had in fact taken place). The second was
intrusive surveillance which takes place in residential premises or in any private
vehicle. Authorisation of directed surveillance could be granted by a senior officer
of PSNI. Intrusive surveillance could only be authorised by a surveillance
commissioner who had held high judicial office.

We held that authorisation of directed surveillance by a senior officer of PSNI – the
very organisation seeking the authorisation violated the applicants’ rights under
article 8.

I mention C and others for two reasons. The first is that it is an example of a case
where the analytical framework of human rights allowed us to pin down exactly
what gave the sense of unease about the case. The second is that it is a measure of
the importance of the role of the solicitor in a criminal trial. An alert, rights-aware
solicitor will know that, while fanciful rights arguments are to be avoided, their duty
to their client involves them remaining constantly alert about both elements of justice
according to law.



Devolution

I must not forget that the title of tonight’s talk is the role of the legal profession in a
devolved Northern Ireland and much, if not all, of what I have had to say so far
relates to the role of the lawyer in whatever political landscape is inhabited. The
core business of being a lawyer – of doing your best for your clients and for the
concept of justice – will not change under devolution. And it may be that one will
notice very little day-to-day difference when devolution occurs. The same courts will
apply the same law as previously. Lawyers will appear in court and advise clients in
the same way as they always have done. So why does devolution matter?

The legal system – in particular the criminal justice system – has undergone
significant changes since the Belfast Agreement in 1998. The Criminal Justice Review
made 294 recommendations, and in his final report in June 2006, the Commissioner
monitoring implementation noted that all but 12 of these had been implemented.
The reforms include the creation of an independent Public Prosecution Service, a
Criminal Justice Inspectorate, a Judicial Appointments Commission and a Northern
Ireland Law Commission. As a result of the Review and the constitutional reforms in
the Justice Acts 2002 and 2004 and the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Lord




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Chief Justice became Head of the Judiciary in Northern Ireland, with many functions
which were formerly exercised by the Lord Chancellor.

You may not realise that in addition to being Chairman of the Judicial Appointments
Commission (which was established in June 2005) and president of the Court of
Appeal, High Court and Crown Court, the Lord Chief Justice also assigns the
judiciary to the courts of Northern Ireland, and deals with distribution of court
business and court sittings. A Judicial Code of on Complaints has been published,
and it is also the Lord Chief Justice’s role to deal with complaints against the conduct
of members of the judiciary and tribunals. In addition to appointing a Presiding
county court judge, district judge and lay magistrate, I am also responsible for the
welfare, training and guidance of the judiciary and, importantly, for representing the
views of the Northern Ireland judiciary to Parliament and in due course the
Northern Ireland Assembly. That is a greatly increased workload from the “ancien
regime”, but it is a fascinating although at times challenging position.

So in terms of preparation for the devolution of justice, a huge amount of work has
already been done. No doubt more is required. That work should not be, and is not
being, underestimated. There are 725 staff in Court Service, supporting 67 full-time
judges at all tiers across 21 venues. Funding, pay, computing and other support
contracts for all of these people and venues will have to be transferred across to the
Northern Ireland Civil Service. These, like the legal aid budget, and responsibility
for the Legal Services Commission, will transfer to the new Department of Justice.
MLAs have already signalled their desire to consider making cuts in the justice
budget, especially in relation to legal aid.

It is here that the most important work is just beginning – that of building
relationships between the judiciary, the legal profession, the executive and the
legislature who will have responsibility for justice policy and for managing and
funding the justice system. Those conversations are just beginning, and it is up to all
of us; courts and practitioners, to demonstrate that we provide value for money and
a service which deserves continuing support.

When justice is devolved, we must be aware of the constitutional role which is
played by each institution of the State, and build relationships between them which
respect their boundaries. Judicial independence is a cornerstone of a healthy
democracy and its importance cannot be over-emphasised. Inasmuch, however, as
the independence of the judiciary must be accorded its proper respect, so the
deference due to the roles of the other two institutions of government – the
legislature and the executive must be recognised. A proper understanding of the
respective roles of each of the organs of government and an acute insight into the
perimeters of their powers and functions is vital to the successful relationship that
should exist between them.

The need to recognise and preserve the independence of the judiciary was, no doubt,
the reason that this fundamental constitutional principle found statutory expression



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in the explicit and prominent guarantee enshrined in the Constitutional Reform Act
of 2005. That Act enjoins not only the First Minister, the deputy First Minister and
Northern Ireland Ministers to adhere to the principle of judicial independence, it
requires them and all those “with responsibility for matters relating to the judiciary
or otherwise to the administration of justice” to refrain from seeking to influence
particular judicial decisions through any special access to the judiciary.

Of course, while the independence of the judiciary must necessarily set the context
for relationships between the various arms of government, it does not preclude
interaction between them and I attended the Assembly and Executive review
Committee last year. I accept the value of contact between politicians and the
judiciary, provided there is a clear understanding and acknowledgement on the part
of all concerned – judges and politicians alike – of the roles that each of us play and
of the areas into which we must not stray.

While I have stressed the need for separation of powers, pre or post devolution, I do
not want to leave you thinking “it’s all right for the judges; all other public servants
have to be accountable”. First independence is not a means of avoiding
accountability. Second, judges are not troubled by the need to be accountable. After
all, because of our systems of appeals, no judge can expect that his or her decisions
will be free from the most painstaking scrutiny in as public a forum as it is possible
to imagine. But accountability must take place in its proper context and should not
imperil the essential concept of judicial independence. Furthermore since April
2006 I have been the head of the judiciary succeeding to that role from the Lord
Chancellor. It is my responsibility to take account of views expressed by the public
or their representatives about our work. And I have met, for example, Ministers,
other politicians, the Chief Constable, Policing Board and a number of other public
figures to discuss various matters with them.

The profession - time of change

It is not only the political and constitutional environment within which the legal
profession operates that is changing. The profession has been the subject of a report,
published in December 2005, by the Northern Ireland Legal Services Review Group,
chaired by Sir George Bain. There was a great deal of apprehension in some quarters;
anticipation in others, about what the report would contain but I think that the
outcome was very measured. It dealt with oversight and quality control of both the
Bar and the solicitors’ profession, and with competition and development of the
profession and recognised that conditions are different in Northern Ireland from
those in England and Wales, where there had been an earlier report, the Clementi
Report, on the same subject. The Bain report, as it has become known, recommended
greater independent oversight and lay involvement in adjudication of complaints
against both barristers and solicitors. It recognised that multi-disciplinary practices,
law firms owned by third parties and “chambers” of barristers are all less well suited
to this jurisdiction. It made recommendations in relation to rights of audience of
both employed barristers and solicitor advocates. Students of the Graduate School



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will be interested to know, if they do not already, that a number of solicitor
advocates now practise in Northern Ireland – one of whom has been elevated to the
rank of Queen’s Counsel.

The Bain Report and the work of the Judicial Appointments Commission both open
new opportunities for solicitors. Gone are the days when the solicitor sat in his or
her office and the barrister went to court. There are opportunities for you to develop
an expertise in advocacy as a solicitor – indeed it might be seen as increasingly part
of your role. Gone too are the days when only a barrister (and a Queen’s Counsel of
many years standing at that) had any chance of becoming a judge. The Recorder of
Belfast who is also the Presiding County Court judge is, in fact, one of the highest
ranking members of the judiciary here to have been elevated from the solicitors’
branch of the legal profession. Recent research for NIJAC found that practising
lawyers were less likely to consider judicial office as a realistic goal if they were
solicitors, if they lived and worked far from Belfast, and in particular if they were
from rural firms. I, as chairman of the JAC, would urge you to recognise that
solicitors who enter the profession today have no reason to limit their ambitions for
any of these reasons.

That may seem like an unduly optimistic note to strike at the present time. Times are
hard – perhaps harder than they have ever been – for the solicitors’ profession in
Northern Ireland. I know of firms on short-time working, and solicitors have been
laid off. Students starting out their careers may wonder if they are doing the right
thing. Quite apart from the economic crisis, many of the old certainties of legal
practice are being swept away. Legal aid provision has changed dramatically in
England and Wales, and changes are afoot here. We are not immune to changes in
the profession which originate in other jurisdictions – increased competition in
England and Wales has led to greater use of in-house lawyers by, for example, the
big insurance companies, with the result that many claims here are being settled
before solicitors are instructed.

I do not want to underplay the difficulties and challenges facing the profession
individually and collectively.. But equally I do not want to overstate them. After all
you have all found training contracts notwithstanding the market I have described.


The majority of this year’s students, I hazard, will find themselves operating within
larger firms, and in market conditions which require them to have a much more
focussed business orientation. They will specialise in one or more areas of law – and
I urge those of you who have such a chance to take it. Successful law firms are
increasingly specialist in nature, and apart from anything else, what can be more
satisfying than to forge a career in an area of law for which you have a particular
enthusiasm and aptitude.

Today’s young lawyers will, I hope, also be part of the information revolution that is
changing the way legal business is done. Their clients may be local people or



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international corporations. They will have to develop a portfolio of legal and general
skills that they will carry into a number of different posts during their career.

The legal profession is going through a period of streamlining and modernisation by
internal and external forces. We need legal professionals who can take a strategic
view and shape the profession, their firm and their own career. There will be no
room for those who simply – as a legal academic once remarked to me - sleepwalked
into a solicitor’s office because they were good at passing exams and didn’t fancy
being a doctor. Today’s young solicitors need to be strategic and they need to be
focussed.

There are certainly threats and challenges in the context in which you are forging
your career, but those of you who can also see – and create – opportunities – will still
be here when the recession is over.
Customers
This emphasis on entrepreneurship and career-development may seem to be at odds
with my earlier emphasis on an altruistic sense of justice. But it is another aspect of
the complex balancing act that we must all engage in. Lawyers provide legal
services. They do so in the marketplace, and their continued presence in the
marketplace requires them to think like businesspeople. But to only think like a
businessperson may turn a lawyer into a caricature like the odious solicitor in
Dickens’ masterpiece Bleak House, Vholes, who ultimately bled his young client
Richard Jarndyce dry of all the funds in his suit, and drove him to an early grave.
My final point to you today is that you can best survive in today’s economic climate
by taking a strategic and entrepreneurial view of your career and, in due course,
your firm. But your job is not to make business for yourself. The lawyer should not
see in every human tragedy, as someone has said, a fee note just waiting to happen.
Never forget the enthusiasm that drew you to law in the first place. A solicitor’s
office is a soul-destroying place to be when all that keeps you there is your next pay-
cheque. And more importantly, never forget that the reason you are there is to
provide a service to the community.
Our purpose as lawyers and as judges is to serve justice. An essential part of that is
to help people. That is also our opportunity and our privilege. In whatever field
you practise, whether it be in conveyancing or probate, the prosecution or defence of
those charged with crime, the conduct of cases in employment or other tribunals, in
the rarefied atmosphere of the Chancery court, or in the wonderful world of judicial
review, you will experience in your professional lives the enormous satisfaction of
advising people and organisations who turn to you for help, who will repose trust
and confidence in you and who will depend on your wisdom and counsel. This,
more than anything else, makes those years of study, those months of anxiety
awaiting results, those sacrifices of your parents and family, and that support and
encouragement from your friends – it is this unique prize that makes it all
worthwhile. May I wish you, and those students who follow you in this newly
opened institution, and the staff the very best for the future?.


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