Having retired from the dust of the arena I look back at the last year from the relative calm of the Law Lords’ Corridor. My comments relate not so much to the last year as to the last three, for last year has been very much ‘more of the same’. That same has been frenetic activity. Whether you talk to Circuit Judge, High Court Judge or presider from the Court of Appeal the reaction is the same – a spell in the ‘Crim Div’ is hard labour. Managing the workload is only possible because of the efficient service of all who work in the Criminal Appeal Office, and particularly the lawyers who produce the invaluable summaries and draw attention to the sentences whose illegality have escaped the attention of all in the court below and might well have passed unnoticed on appeal also. I also wish to pay tribute to Master Venne, the Registrar of Criminal Appeals. ‘Master and Commander’, he runs a tight ship but does so with a relaxed calm and charm that results in a happy ship’s company.
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