I am going to become a judge, announced Mr Pettifog at partners’ tea last week. There was a brief silence. Who is going to make you a judge?, asked Alice sharply. Alice serves the tea on these occasions. She is even older than Mr Pettifog, and knew him when he was young, so he accepts her direct questioning.
The Attorney General, Mr Pettifog replied. He looked pleased with the reaction that his announcement had made. In truth, his listeners were feeling a mixture of disbelief that anyone would make him a judge, relief that they might finally be rid of him, and irritation that Alice was not serving the tea.
The Attorney General of England and Wales?, asked Bright Sparkette, displaying the attention to detail that illuminates all of her work.
Mr Pettifog chewed thoughtfully on a bourbon cream biscuit. Not exactly, he said eventually.
With some prompting, he admitted that he had been talking to his friend Jumbo McCorquadale QC at a lodge meeting. Jumbo had told him about a young West Indian barrister that he had met at a Lincoln’s Inn dining night, some years before. In a spirit of post-prandial bonhomie, Jumbo had offered the young man a mini-pupillage and he had accepted. This barrister had got in touch with Jumbo recently. It turned out that he was now Attorney General of Grenada, and wanted Jumbo’s suggestions for suitable candidates to nominate to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Jumbo thought Mr Pettifog would be a shoo-in for the role.
The only problem, apparently, was that candidates needed to have some prior judicial experience, and Mr Pettifog had none. Looking at the current vacancies on the Department of Justice website, Jumbo thought he could wangle it for Mr Pettifog to secure an upcoming position as Fee-Paid Drainage Member of the First-tier Tribunal, Property Chamber, Agricultural Land and Drainage. Do that job for 6 months, then you will be qualified to apply for the Caribbean job when the current Grenadan nominee retires, Jumbo said.
Back in our tea party, Mr Pettifog expressed some doubts about this role, which didn’t seem terribly, well, classy. Oh, go for it, we all said. It is only a stepping stone, and no-one would think it reflected your true worth as a lawyer and jurist, said Young Hope, crossing his fingers and hoping that Mr Pettifog would take the bait.
You know, said Mr Pettifog, I think I might just apply. Excuse me, will you, I have an online form to complete.
Note: this tale is a mixture of fact and fiction. There really is a current UK vacancy for a Fee-Paid Drainage Member. See here if you would like to apply. The Attorney General of Grenada, Cajeton Hood, was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn. There is currently a vacancy for a judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, for which applicants must have prior judicial experience in a Commonwealth country. See here if you would like to apply. It seems highly unlikely that someone with Mr Pettifog’s credentials would be seriously considered for the role.