Few regrets over departure of `Harman the Horrible'

KNOWN by his victims as "Harman the Horrible", Mr Justice Harman - who resigned yesterday after unprecedented criticism from fellow judges - is unlikely to be missed.

For the past 16 years, Sir Jeremiah Harman, 67, a senior High Court judge, has been acquiring a reputation as a hectoring bully with little interest in the outside world. News yesterday that he was resigning after a damning report into his handling of a damages case, in which the claimants were kept waiting for 20 months for a decision, was greeted with relief by many lawyers. Three Court of Appeal judges were critical of conduct which "weakens public confidence in the whole judicial process".

His unpopularity was reflected in being voted as one of the worst judges on the High Court bench in all three surveys of 100 solicitors and barristers by Legal Business magazine. One interviewee said: "He has reached unparalleled depths of awfulness. It is nothing short of an uncomfortable adventure to appear before him, and in terms of delivering justice he is nowhere. He is impolite. He is the judge I least want to appear in front of."

He gained public attention for a number of high-profile gaffes. When the former guards officer was asked if he had heard of the rock group Oasis during a 1996 court hearing, he replied: "I certainly have not heard of the band, I don't listen to bands."At a hearing during the height of World Cup fever in 1990 when asked to grant an injunction halting an unauthorised biography of Paul Gascoigne, he said: "Is he a rugby or association footballer? Isn't there an operetta called La Gazza Ladra?"

In 1992, he earned the nickname "the Kicking Judge" after he booted a taxi driver outside his London home under the mistaken impression he was a press photographer.

But it is his treatment of other lawyers that has gained him the greatest notoriety. One said he was "dreadfully rude to people who are junior and inexperienced; discourteous and bullying".

His latest targets have been the new solicitor advocates who have rights of audience in certain cases. The first one to appear before the judge was asked to provide a copy of his practising certificate after the judge inquired loftily: "Who are you?"

He was called to the Bar in 1954 and graduated to the bench along the time-honoured route of Eton, the Coldstream Guards and Lincoln's Inn.

His resignation brought a mixed response from members of the Bar at the High Court yesterday. One woman barrister said: "Good riddance to bad rubbish." But a male colleague countered: "I deplore this tendency towards uniformity. There must be room for mavericks, even on the bench. If they stick to being rude and irascible but efficient at the same time, it's all right."

what fellow lawyers said about him

Anonymous lawyers to Legal Business magazine: "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

And "He has reached unparalleled depths of awfulness."

Judgment in the Court of Appeal: His conduct "weakens public confidence in the whole judicial process".

Male barrister speaking in his support: "I deplore this tendency towards uniformity - there must be room for mavericks."

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: One of SThree's most successfu...

Nursery Manager

£10 - £11 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: Nursery Manager We are loo...

Early Years Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor