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“They are both lovely lads, Judge Jock,” mused Our Man At The Bar, sweeping a few fag ends off the leaner into his pocket, “And well deserving of a lift in the social pages.
“But don’t you think there’s something a wee bit odd about how Chris [Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson] and Mike [Solicitor-General Michael Heron] became Queen’s counsel?”
(The couple’s appointment was announced by Prime Minister John Key on December 13, the first made under changes to the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, which did away with the unwanted Silly (Senior) Counsel title and restored the much sought-after QC rank.)
“You mean they asked themselves if they could be made QCs?” quizzed Judge Jock.
“Trust you to lower the tone with your suspicious snivelling,” roared OMATB. “But now you mention it, that’s the wheeze around the Ladies and Escorts Lounge.
“You see, Judge Jock, if you want to be a QC these days you have to apply to Solicitor-General Heron QC, who may or may not pass your application form on to Attorney-General Finlayson QC.
“They run you by the law society and bar association to make sure your nose is clean, no-one’s successfully complained, your taxes are in order and there are no black balls in your past.
“If they both fancy you QC Chris will put your name up to Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, a soldier who is neither a lawyer nor a QC. But before GG Jerry can do anything he must get the nod from Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, who is not only a QC but a PC and a GNZM to boot.”
“Ever got the wrong side of any of that crew?”
“But can’t you just shout some jokers down at the law society a few beers and get them to put your name up?” asked Judge Jock.
“Get a grip, Jock J, times have changed.”
“An applicant must show excellence, knowledge of the law, oral and written advocacy, independence, integrity and honesty and leadership,” boomed OMATB. “Leaves you dangling on the poker, what??? Dudley Ffyfers would have a better show..."
“Next thing they’ll expect a chap to be a lawyer, too,” sniffed Judge Jock, to the background accompaniment of tearing paper.
“But coming back to your query, Jock J.”
“Maybe, just maybe, GG Jerry pulled the wildcard and used the discretion bestowed on him by Her Most Gracious Majesty And Sovereign Lady The Queen (bows deeply towards the fly-specked Coronation photo behind the Bombay shelf) to appoint the lads in recognition of what is called 'extraordinary contributions to the field of law'.
“I know it's anyone's guess what that means, but that, my lad, is for them – not you or your half million followers – to know,” said Our Man At The Bar, tweaking the change into his boot.
Meanwhile: Judge Jock has it on impeccable authority that Jovial Joe (Karam) – the taxpayers’ friend – having clocked up a cool $400,000 in generous legal aid handouts, is now in the salary bracket to depose Dame Sian Elias as new Chief Justice. A date to be set.
Footnote: Entries in the “Sexiest QCs to Spend the Night With” challenge continue to swell Judge Jock’s mailbag. Entrants are reminded they may wish to remove any messages of a delicate nature from the back of their photos. All to be revealed.
Stop Press: A “we act for” letter on behalf of His Honour Justice X’s chambers, clearly penned by an agitated hand on fine parchment rolled between the compliant thighs of a lissome legal executive, has put on hold Judge Jock’s promised Pop-Up Guide to Being a Judge. Advice being taken.
More next time…