Judicial humour

On Friday afternoon I was dropping my shirts off to be washed – it’s an extravagance, I know, but as I cycle into work the only alternative would be to bring my shirts to work in the bike pannier and iron them on the tiny ironing board in the little shower-room which we have.

There was a distinguished looking gentleman there before me, dropping off his laundry and in particular a rather sumptuous red tie.

I knew he was distinguished because of the extraordinary deference with which the laundry lady was treating him. There was some discussion about his clothes – it appeared that some of his pockets were in need of repair and she was discussing the options with him.

“It’s the keys,” the gentleman said. “It’s not the coins. Judges aren’t paid that well.”

I couldn’t help myself. I know it is rude to turn a joke against someone when they make it against themselves (for context: the base salary for a Federal Court judge, commencing 1 July 2011, is $391,140)
and surely he must have been joking, but I couldn’t resist it. I now cannot remember the exact words, but it was to the effect that this conclusion hardly follows, because judges only take the paper money.

Of course I meant that judges are well enough off to leave any coins they are offered in their change or whatever, but the gentleman shot me a slightly sharp glance before he left.

I took the precaution of taking a quick squizz at the name on his dry-cleaning slip. It would be best if I never have to appear before him.

3 Responses to “Judicial humour”

  1. Legal Eagle Says:

    Someone had to explain to me that the reason judges think they are poor is because they usually forego more than double the $400K odd by going to the bar. Not poor by any other standards though.

  2. O Says:

    I often wonder about the accuracy of that type of calculation. Taking into account the advantage of paid leave (4 weeks’ annual leave and two weeks of public holidays, and sick leave), workers’ compensation coverage and of course pensions, I’m sure the drop is not quite as sharp as suggested.

    One also suspects, without knowing, that workloads reduce to some extent on transition from Bar to bench (that’s not to suggest judges don’t work particularly hard of course – it’s all relative).

  3. marcellous Says:

    It’s the 60% pension after 10 years which is the big ticket item.

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