Family Division President Sir James Munby has paid tribute to his predecessor in the role, Sir Nicholas Wall, who died earlier this month following a diagnosis of dementia.
Echoing comments by the Family Law Bar Association, the President described Sir Nicholas as combining “great intellectual rigour with humanity and compassion”.
He stressed Sir Nicholas’ long career in family law before his appointment, as well as his “kindness and generosity to colleagues at the Bar and on the Bench, and … his patience and courtesy in dealing with those who appeared before him, especially those without the benefit of legal representation.”
He combined great skill in cases involving children with significant expertise in financial disputes, and also served with distinction on the Employment Appeal Tribunal and in the Administrative Court.
One a lighter note, Sir James continued:
“Sir Nicholas was a man of many parts. He enjoyed writing clerihews [comic verses] and he was a skilled bookbinder.”
He quoted just such a verse composed in tribute by “another judge”:
“Sir Nicholas Wall
Was exceedingly tall
He said “My unreported judgments may be very few,
But I would rather bind a book or pen a clerihew.”
Read Sir James’ tribute in full here.
Image: the combined arms of the four Inns of Court. Photo by Marc Baronnet via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence