Thursday, August 25, 2005


A colleague was undergoing her appraisal in the chair. The appraiser was sitting in the well of the court, and one of her colleagues ('wingers') was on her second-ever sitting.

Midway through the morning the winger's phone started to ring loudly in her handbag. She turned scarlet, and fumbled unsuccessfully to turn it off. The chairman coolly paused the court's proceedings and announced that the bench would retire for just a couple of minutes. They returned with the phone firmly switched off.

During the debrief at the end of the session, the appraiser mentioned the incident and said that the chairman had handled matters with dignity and that the court had been disrupted to a minimal extent. "So that was okay then?" she enquired. "Well, replied the appraiser, "There was one small problem. When the phone rang your colleague said 'shit!' so loudly that we heard it right at the back of the court".

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