The head of a network of British immigration courts ruled Thursday that lawyers should be allowed to wear full-face veils in the courtroom unless it prevents them being heard.It's also here at NDTV.com, which includes this:
Hodge said Thursday that if a lawyer wishing to wear a veil "has the agreement of his or her client and can be heard reasonably clearly by all parties to the proceedings, then the representative should be allowed to do so."
If the judge could not hear the lawyer clearly, "then the interests of justice are not served, and other arrangements will need to be made," Hodge said in a statement.In other words, if a judge can't hear a veiled lawyer who doesn't want to remove her veil, arrangements can be made for another lawyer to take the case - rather than just having the judge bully the lawyer, adjourn the case, come back from recess to bully the lawyer some more, and then cancel the hearing to take things further, like a spoiled kid.
Well done that man. Of course, those judges who are less enlightened are free to pretend they can't hear a veiled woman, but good on Hodge for not rolling over at the bidding of the tabloids.
The tabloids have been uncharacteristically silent - which is unsurprising as there's nothing they can hang their outrage on. The case won't cost loads of money, there's a get out for the 'I can't hear you,' excuse, and the excuse that the client should come first is taken care of. Job done.
See, it's not all bad.
*UPDATE* Whoops! Spoke too soon. Google didn't pick it up, but the tabloids do have it covered. (Jesus, I must be reading too many tabloids to come up with a pun like that). The Mail can't help but have a small dig at political correctness gone mad
though. Bless. In 'Head of immigration tribunals gives legal staff OK to wear veil in court', it says:
Yesterday's ruling is only temporary, ahead of a full declaration from the Judicial Studies Board, which issues advice to judges on questions of race and faith equality.True to form for Daily Mail anti-PC outrage, the stuff about the banned words is complete arse. I remember the story as one of the very first times I realised how much the Mail are given to distorting and exaggerating in an article. All that happened is that the Board produced a set of guidelines about what people might find offensive. The irony of the Mail's outrage is that only a few days after its fury about banning judges from saying words, the paper reported about a judge being reprimanded for referring to a black defendant as, 'the nigger in the woodpile'. Hmmm . . . I wonder what might prevent judges from making that sort of mistake in future . . . a set of guidelines, perhaps.
The Board is notorious for publishing a list of banned words and phrases which it told judges to avoid in the interests of equality.
Banned terms included 'immigrant','Asian', 'postman' and 'man and wife'. England's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, was consulted by Mr Justice Hodge before he made his decision.
The outraged comments are worth a look for the sheer bloody-minded fun of it. I'll just quote the one:
I have lost all respect for the law of this land. I don't give a damn about this country any more now.Good. Fuck off.
- John, Sevenoaks, UK
The Express has 'Fury as top judge gives way to Muslim hardliners on veils'. It's nasty enough to warrant it's own posting, so see you on the flipside. (Whatever that means).