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Appointment of Jonathan Sumption QC to the Supreme Court

I have been blogging for some time now about personal injury cases with the occasional subjective comment. I take a moment now to comment on two separate articles that I read recently in the Law Society Gazette.

The first article is one by the legal journalist, Joshua Rozenberg, who I have much time for. It relates to the appointment to the Supreme Court of Jonathan Sumption QC who is joint Head of Chambers at Brick Court Chambers.

Who is Jonathan Sumption QC you may ask. Those who have considered the legal press will know of him already. He clearly has one of the sharpest minds in the Country which is a point that was raised in a 5 minute interview with him which you will find on the BBC website and which took place in July of last year.

It was a point that he batted away with subjective acceptance but also with a fair degree of humour. Much has been made of Mr Sumption’s QC appointment to the Supreme Court. It is not for me to comment save that we need sharp minds in the Supreme Court, the highest Court in our land now before we defer, sometimes grudgingly, to Europe. I am sure that the appointment will go through with the usual ‘ups and downs’ but I for one anticipate that having done so, many will look back with the benefit of hindsight and say that the appointment was well made.

On a different vein, I read with interest the excellent albeit brief article about Dr Michael Siegel who was a lawyer in Germany during the Second World War. There was a photograph of Dr Siegel who was followed by 2 police officers. Dr Siegel had a sign around his neck. It is clear that he was being told to wear the sign. The sign said: ‘Ich werde mich nie mehr bei der Polizie beschweren.’ The translation of the sign is roughly as follows:‘I will never again complain to the Police.’

The sign could also be translated as ..’ I will not be able to complain to the Police’ which is a chilling reminder of what the terror as it has been described, (Victor Klemperer – ‘ I Shall Bear Witness’) was like in pre-War Germany.

It is men like Dr Siegel who in 1971 on his 89th birthday was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the German Republic, who restores ones faith in mankind. Whilst there are numerous websites about Jonathan Sumption QC, and understandably so, I could not find any website on a Google search of Dr Michael Siegel. More is the pity. I would like to know more about this man who, despite my never having met  and reading only the brief article referred to, I nevertheless hold in high esteem for his work and courage.

It is men like Dr Siegel, and I am sure men like Mr Sumption QC, who put their heads above the parapet in circumstances where others would quite happily crouch below and avoid the shots being sent in their direction.The true battle for democracy is upheld by people like Dr Siegel. I am sure that the same will be said of Mr Sumption QC when having spent some time in his forthcoming elevated position.

Tristan Hallam is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

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