Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Courting Disaster

I went to court today on a pro bono case. Obviously, the details are not for public consumption.

However, I will again share my thoughts on what a terrifying experience it is. As a basically law-abiding citizen* I am petrified by going to court.

Of course, these things are correlated but perhaps in different ways. Either it's a genuinely terrifying thing, and hence I'm scared, despite my good behaviour; or, alternatively, I am a good citizen because I'm terrified in the first place.

Having read the horrific NY Times series on New York judges,** and having taken the most wonderful Anti-Discrimination Law class, I can see that some people, and particularly some groups of people, are disengaged and disconnected from the system because it does not take their concerns, worries and lives seriously enough. I honestly believe that's true. Which is sad, because I think that being a judge - other than time management and having to be very careful about the people you choose to have around you - would be an extraordinarily interesting post in which you could really make a positive difference in someone's life.

DISCLAIMER: The judge this morning was sharp and smart; there are some good ones out there, definitely. However, what worries me is the appointment system and the abuse of power that does take place.

* I have been known to jaywalk, not present my ID when in drinking establishments, and surreptitiously sneak a beer in the open air.

** If you have Times Select and fancy a scary bedtime story, I suggest you find it.

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