Law: Quotes of the Year

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The Independent Culture
"Someone once said you have to suffer for your art. And this isn't even my art."

The Lord Chancellor on his official home restoration

"There is no doubt that the public perception is that judges are [too soft, and out of touch]. They think we start work at 11, finish at three, spend two hours in a West End club sipping sherry... and that we are totally removed from anything to do with real life. It is certainly not true."

Lord Saville of Newdigate when the Home Office was reported as considering suggesting story lines for soap operas as part of a PR offensive to increase public confidence in judges and magistrates

"It stems from the days when women were thought to have nothing better to do than flounce around the house with a duster. So they were admitted in the daytime, but after certain hours and at weekends they got only restricted access... The view was, you can't have all those skirts clogging up the greens."

Georgina James, deputy chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, on its plans to extend sex discrimination laws to private sports clubs

"Lawyers are eunuchs. We know how to do it, we see it done every day, yet we don't do it ourselves."

Solicitor John Verrill, vice-president of the Insolvency Lawyers Association, on how lawyers are sent to the back room when they are instructed in liquidations

"The use of the word `nigger' by you indicates a real hatred of a black person, doesn't it?"

"I wouldn't say so. It's just a word that comes out sometimes."

Michael Mansfield QC questioning Gary Dobson at the Stephen Lawrence inquiry

"I have never seen myself as a `radical lawyer'. I think the term is an oxymoron. It is the barrister's duty to be independent and I remain so."

Geoffrey Robertson QC on being a radical lawyer

"No, this is not sour grapes. What democracy demands is that the people best suited to the jobs are appointed to them, not people who happen to know those in power. And that is also what the law requires."

Solicitor Jane Coker, who brought an industrial tribunal action against the Lord Chancellor on his appointment of special adviser Garry Hart

"There is an element of truth in the public's view that the granting of silk constitutes a licence to print money. It is undoubtedly the occasion and pretext for a mark-up on fees."

Mr Justice Lightman, as part of his speech to the Chancery Bar Association

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