Reading Hugo Young’s Papers one is reminded how much our approach to organising ourselves has changed in recent decades. Back in 1980, when Lord Lane took over as Lord Chief Justice there was a backlog of 600 criminal cases, or two years’ worth. Obviously unacceptable. To rectify matters he put in Sir John Donaldson (subsequently Master of the Rolls).
Sir John’s first action:
As judges, we would wander, as usual, to the door of the court, but then enter it with great and unaccustomed briskness and sit down instantly and say with great energy, “Yes, Mr so-and-so”. Oddly, this accelerated things immensely.
It’s difficult to imagine something so basic being recommended by the clever management consultants who nowadays get to work on this sort of problem. I wonder what such a recommendation might look like on a PowerPoint slide?
In any event, if it did make it, I feel sure it would be supported by a two-day residential workshop on how one achieves best-practice in bursting through doors with great and unaccustomed briskness, sitting down instantly and bellowing.