What's the most inappropriate thing you've ever heard a Judge utter

This Judges to receive training on "inappropriate behaviour" elsewhere on Rof, prompts this question.

Going back over 35 years ago, I heard a Crown Court Judge who was notorious for his gaffs ask a Rastafarian to remove his tea cosy. I wouldnt have believed it if I hadnt heard it.



‘Oh it’s you, c unt, again is it? This time youre not getting past me whatever the facts, and you can forget about an appeal before we even start, because I have already decided’

Does chair of the bench count? My Dad was one for several years and boy could I tell you some stories!

One prime example from home (I loved him dearly but he was a man of his generation, I.e. hugely racist in some views but I genuinely think he was fair and unbiased on the bench):

”If an Afro-Caribbean male had unwed parents when he was born then calling him a [you can guess - not going to type it as I can’t bring myself to] isn’t an insult, it’s purely a description”.

We had lots of very heated arguments.

clubmother was playing cards when she told the lord chief justice to "stop being so bloody pompous". history does not record what he had said to deserve it. 



Jim that sounds familiar. My dad is from 'that generation' if not the one before. I have to take him to hospital quite often and he would make comments that rankled; stupid rather than snide. I told him to shut up, and amazingly he has.

A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court hurling abuse at my counsel for not having submitted to a guilty plea bargain which he had offered in Chambers.

Amazingly we ended up winning


‘Those boots you’re wearing would look better behind your ears.’ 

TBF it wasn’t in a court room, but at Christmas party that my then firm were hosting and which it had invited all the Supreme Court Justices to. 



What about the time the judge made the entire court stand up and applaud EP's lawerly majesty before a chorus of for he's a jolly good fellow then demanding he come home to shag his wife and daughters?

Witnessed defence counsel having a strip torn off them because the prosecution failed to provide the papers for the hearing, making progress impossible. Despite the fact there as nothing the young counsel could do to make the Police/CPS hand over its case . HHJ screamed the line "don't ever show up in my court without papers ever again" whilst his puce face showed his utter contempt for the poor advocate. Then turned to the Prosecution and politely said thank you for attending. To say this HHJ was a tad prosecution biased is an understatement. 

This one definitely happened because i was that young defence counsel and was bullied for years by same HHJ until the old fart retired. I could share some horror stories....

Not inappropriate, but a DJ at - can't remember if Hastings or Eastbourne - reacted to a mobile phone going off as follows:

"Normally I'd rip you to pieces for that but mine went off during a trial yesterday so I'm going to give you a pass."

Witnesses a HHJ comment to a black barrister: late again I see, I suppose you are on Caribbean time are you....

Telling a Solicitor-Advocate to sit down and stop being so stupid. Only to have the next advocate (member of the Bar) make exactly the same point and being praised for good intuition . 

Judge stop a solicitor in the middle of XX to say - I can see where you are going with this and there is no point your client is guilty. 

A chair of a lay bench proudly declaring "we find him guilty" at the close of the prosecution case.  

ET Chair shouting at my (defendant's) witness in a disability discrimination claim we unsurprisingly lost.  Then it transpired in the written reasons (which he didn't want to give me but I insisted) that one of the wing members shared the same disability as the claimant (severe brittle asthma).  If they'd mentioned this at the start I'd prolly have said OK, let's crack on, but they didn't. 

An old criminal silk, now deceased, recounted an exchange during the trial of a man charged with gross indecency involving a dog. During his evidence, the defendant kept clearing his throat. The judge, a kindly sort, offered the following to the silk “Would your client like to suck on a Fisherman’s Friend?” 

To which the silk replied “No thank you my lord. My client is in enough trouble as it is! “

Watching Peter Smith threaten to summon the CEO of British Airways to court to explain what had happened to his lost luggage was pretty memorable.


If I had a time machine, that would be one of the events that would be on my bucket list, I must admit!

An anecdote retold, so definitely not first person:

Elderly witness was called to give evidence, and was taking an age to get into the box.

This infuriated the judge who shouted down at him "What's the matter, man? Haven't you got any legs?"

To which the inevitable response was "No sir, lost them at Arnhem."

How does one address a Lord Justice of Appeal at a dinner if one unexpectedly ends up sitting next to him? 

PS - fascinating read but, as it was from 2012 and I’ve never heard of a follow up and gang crime is worse than ever, unfortunately it appears it didn’t work.