Sturdy docks and wooden benches have been replaced by plastic chairs and flimsy furnishings in our courtrooms in a “No Frills” initiative. Is this not an affront to the dignity of the judicial process?
There may be some room for “No Frills” cutbacks, on judges’ lodgings for instance but, I agree that the courtroom is the showcase of our entire judicial system.
Airlines vary their service offering based on the quality of the passengers. There is a natural legal pecking order that would lend itself to this approach in our courtrooms. For instance, senior members of the profession should have First Class seating especially for long haul trials. At tense moments, oxygen masks could drop down. For emergencies, there could be dinner jackets underneath the seats.
We would all gain from sick bags being available especially during the submissions of certain well-meaning advocates.
After lunch, lights could be dimmed, and anyone wishing to pay attention could use their reading lights.
Once we have the right seating, there will be no need to go to the canteen for morning tea. It could be brought in by the ushers thereby increasing efficiency.
Bathroom breaks have always been an issue. But a light saying “remain seated” operated by the judge could be usefully combined with tannoy announcements throughout the courthouse to ensure we did not miss anything.
Young lawyers would from time to time be upgraded from economy seating.
I am not in favour of earphones, movies and magazines, but these should be optional in the public gallery. Such options would be far more effective in achieving a dignified silence than the cold states of police and ushers.
Add a court miles scheme, experiments with massage and our courts would once again become the envy of the legal world.
Extract from - I'll have the law on you -selected letters of John Fytit to be published later this year.
(c) Paul Brennan 2015. All rights reserved.
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