Last year, I was lucky enough to secure a guest blog post from barrister and family law blogger Lucy Reed, aka @familoo. The post was about when you as a legal adviser or McKenzie friend should pause and consider whether you need to ask for help in a legal dispute.
As noted in my reflective 2017 blog post, this ended up being “my” most read post of last year. I don’t grudge that; honest. It was a well-written and important piece. It was great to give it a home.
A few days ago I noticed a court decision in an English family law matter, to do with the welfare of a child. Family law is not a specialist area for me, but what caught my eye was how well-written and understandable the judgment was. A special effort had been made to render the judgment in plain English because the father of the child has “ADHD, depression and a mild learning disability” and as such might struggle to follow a verbosely expressed ruling.
I then noticed a tweet by Philip Marshall QC, in which he tagged the judge. I think this is the first time I have seen a judge tagged. It also led to another realisation: “wait, I know the judge in that case!” Well, sort of know: a contrived connection, I grant you, but I’m claiming it.
Important as I think the guest blog post I referred to above is, I am delighted that Deputy District Judge Reed has moved on to writing other things. She has rightly been lauded for the judgment, as reported in the Law Society Gazette and The Times (£). The Gazette raised an analogy with an earlier family law judgment that took the form of a letter to a young person. Plain English FTW.
I really don’t have much to add to this, short of recommending you have a look at this and the earlier decision even if you are not an English family lawyer. The style and content of the writing give all who write about the law something to think about.
Meanwhile, and to borrow an observation that Marshall made in his tweet, I suppose this may mean Lucy is “lost to us” in the Twittersphere and blogosphere. If that is the price we need to pay for judgments such as this, so be it.
UPDATE 23 April 2018: I knew there was something else I should mention on this topic, and that is this recent article: Lesley-Anne Barnes Macfarlane, “Patrick v Patrick and Re A letter to a Young Person: Judicial Letters to Children – an Unannounced, but not an Unwelcome, Development” (2018) 22 EdinLR 101. It is currently the featured online article of the Edinburgh Law Review, available here.