Search Justinian
Justinian's news stories

Where's the hook? ... Senior NT lawyers seek removal of judge for apprehended bias ... Email reveals that judge's wife was privy to strategy and opinions of one side in Supreme Court judicial review heard by her husband ... Read more ... 


Free Newsletter sign-up

 

Justinian Columnists

Reasonable suspicion ... Citizenship stripping ... Heavy-handed officialdom ... Wooly notions of "reasonable suspicion" ... Procrustes shows how it has worked in practice ... The immigration official who was "very thorough with non-whites" ... Read more ... 




This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Scott Morrison: I mean he has got his silks at the dry cleaners waiting to defend them when they come back and I think that really betrays the heart of Labor on many of these things. Mark Dreyfus wants a lawyers' picnic over these things and bringing these people back. 
    Ray Hadley: This is the problem minister. He can't forget he's a lawyer, he can't forget this, you see, and that's a dangerous thing - particularly if you've got a hand-wringing, left-leaning lawyer as your shadow attorney general. 
    Scott Morrison: I don't think it inspires confidence. 

    Scott Morrison discussing the government's citizenship laws on radio 2GB, June 22, 2015 ... READ MORE >>


    Justinian Featurettes

    Viticulture in Van Diemen's land ... Lawyers and the grape ... Guy Green and William Cox - Tasmania's vine growing chief justices, who managed not to produce any wine ... Gabriel Wendler reviews a painstaking history of Tasmanian wine ... Read more ... 


    Justinian's archive

    Gibberish dopes the judges ... It takes submissions from a dope fiend to have Queensland judges wrapping themselves in extra layers of dignity and producing weighty reasoning about delirious abstractions ... From Justinian's archive, October 2008 ... Read more ... 


     

    « Hermann and the juicy file | Main | Messenger remains unshot by the High Court »
    Tuesday
    Feb262013

    A painful day

    The hidden role of pre-menstrual syndrome at the bar ... Man-flu seems a perfectly acceptable ground for non-appearance ... The role of the hot-water bottle ... Junior Junior on secret women's business  

    ONE of the drawbacks of being a barrister is that you can't outsource your job. 

    Like wedding photographers or top class surgeons, you can't wake up on the morning of a hearing and decide you aren't bothered to go to work.

    In fact, if you wake up and you are sick as a dog, you still have to drag your sorry tail to the court and put on a show to remember.

    The only excuses for not turning up are death, paralysis (at least paraplegia – even then the ease of acquiring a wheelchair would be factored in) or gaol.

    So, the other morning when I woke up with the worst women's pain of my life and a court appearance in two hours, I knew what was going to happen.

    I managed a semi-shower, but no breakfast. I put on my most comfortable, but court-appropriate, outfit and I filled a hot water bottle for the trip. 

    Normally, I'm pretty fussy about my appearance. No lady barrister is seen operating in a man's world without looking her best.

    But, there I was traipsing up King Street holding a hot water bottle to my abdomen. 

    I arrived in chambers and promptly hid in my office with my hot water bottle until 15 minutes before court.

    Time to leave.

    I put the hottie on my chair and picked-up my handbag.

    Then, naturally, I burst into tears.

    In my time at the bar I have never once cried in chambers - welcome to the charming world of PMS.

    Who knew that sanity could be contained in a rubber bladder? Knowing that the hot water bottle would be cold by the time I returned from court was just too much for my hormone-addled brain.

    I considered sticking it up my dress and trying to look a little pregnant during my appearance.

    The fear of it dropping out of my skirt and having to explain myself was too much to bear and I left the bottle where it was.

    The appearance itself was mentally painless. And a good thing too as severe abdominal pain tends to be a little distracting.

    I promptly returned to chambers, wrote my report for the day and then disappeared - home to bed.

    I wondered how my male colleagues cope with illness. Everyone knows man-flu causes males of the species to be completely incapable of movement or rational thought, so how do they make it to court when really afflicted?  

    I once had surgery. My surgeon popped his head in the same afternoon, for a little under 10 seconds, to let me know all had gone well and he would see me tomorrow to go through everything. 

    Tomorrow came, but my surgeon did not.

    The nurse contacted him, to be told that he had man-flu.

    I found it odd that no one batted an eyelid that he had failed to keep an appointment due to a mysterious ailment.  

    Needless to say, I was discharged home never having seen him again. 

    Maybe at the bar a quick call, man-to-man (barrister-to-judge) is sufficient to have the daily list reordered to accommodate the sorry soul.

    I suspect that such accommodations would not be forthcoming for creatures such as me, regardless of how forward thinking our profession believes it has become.

    Until the day that PMS is as acceptable an excuse as man-flu, for missed appointments or rescheduled appearances, our profession will not have achieved gender equality.  

    Reader Comments (3)

    This is an irritating post on a few levels. It is difficult to know if the author is being tongue in cheek about any of it. All it seems to be doing is reinforcing all of the stereotypes women at the bar rail against. The need for a female barrister to look her best in a male dominated world? Puh-lease. Man flu v PMS? Double puh-lease. Surely there are more interesting anecdotes about life at the junior bar as a female than what is presented here.

    February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    The notion that a man could call another man to explain being ill and gain any kind of special consideration or preferential treatment is paranoid and fanciful.

    March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

    Please no more of the gender comparisons that have ailed the last few posts - it all seems a bit self-pitying.
    Give us some more of the gossip which made the early posts great!

    March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchica at the bar
    Member Account Required
    You must have a member account on this website in order to post comments. Log in to your account to enable posting.