What Do We Want From Our Judges? to Be the “CCH of Legal Publishing”?

Michael Kirby, Mr. Justice Kirby of the High Court is known to love the limelight and he doubtless was tickled when the latest issue of Australian Business described him as the Rock star of the bench.

In a wide ranging account drawn from a speech to university students he talked about the organization of judgments:

“I know the real reason you love me,” Justice Kirby said.

“Headings. Headings. Sub-headings. Sub-sub-headings. Indent dot points. That’s the real reason.”

Kirby had some other helpful hints for those who find his judgments time-consuming. “You don’t communicate ideas if you write High Court judgments in the way that the High Court justices did in my time. Just think of my time in law school. I had to sit there reading page after page without a single paragraph.

“So that’s what you get from me. I’m the sort of CCH of legal publishing. I believe in making it easy. You can skip all the stuff you don’t want to read and go straight to the point where the sub-sub-sub heading tells you what the gist of the matter is.

“That is a great help and I think I should get a big round of applause.”

Justice Kirby

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