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    Wednesday
    Dec212011

    Christmas on the minimum wage

    It's a horrible time of the year for Junior Junior ... Stuck in chambers with lonely, dysfunctional workaholics ... Time to read The Daily Telegraph and despair ... Community standards replaced by princelings  

    Christmas time for a reader means two things: you won't earn any money and if you do it will be because you dug some poor duty judge out of bed to ask for an injunction.

    Both of these things are unpalatable.

    As it comes up to chambers closure, the number of barristers steadily dwindles until you are left with the couple of workaholics whose wives left them so they have nothing to go home to anyway.

    I'm bored to death, as the important courts have already closed, and I'm reduced to thumbing through the newspapers.

    I came across a very disturbing article in The Daily Telegraph reporting Justice Peter McClellan's suggestion that criminal juries be done away with. 

    Jurors obviously come in an array of types and degrees of intelligence, but so do judges.

    To replace 12 people who represent community standards and common sense with two or three judges, who represent their private school outlook and sailing club committee, is hardly a good swap.

    I don't have anything against private schools or sailing clubs, as such, but judges vary significantly in their level of attachment to reality.

    I don't mean they are suffering a delusional mental illness (although that's a possibility in some cases), but they live in a world of dress-ups, bowing and scraping and generally being treated like little princelings (or princesses).

    None of which is conducive to being a standard, average, well-rounded individual.

    The main reason for Justice McClellan's suggestion appears to be financial.

    Jurors are giving up, sometimes significant portions of the year, to listen to sad and evil stories from the criminal courts.

    For this they are paid as much as a burger flipper at Maccas.

    That is fine if you are a burger flipper at Maccas, but not so great if you have a mortgage with a bank that is stingy passing on rate cuts, or are trying to hold down a job that pays more than the minimum wage.

    You would hope that the job of upholding the rule of law and the right to a fair trial would warrant the payment of a little more than the minimum wage. 

    Now that I am fully across the latest developments in current affairs I'm off to the kitchen to scoff some of the free cherries from building management, then back to the office to use the scrap paper I've been saving since I started at the bar to make Christmas cards for the family.

    The joy of Christmas on the minimum wage. 

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