OPENING LINES OF A JUDGMENT: IT STARTED WITH A TWEET: PAGING DOCTOR FREUD
The opening line of a judgment is often a good guide as to what it to follow. For a few days there has been some, occasionally heated, discussion, as to the best opening lines of a judicial pronouncement.
THE TWITTER STORM
When I review developments in civil procedure at the end of each year I have a section “Best opening words of a judgment”. This is never the most serious part of the review, but at the end of a year the mood needs to be lightened.
In a tweet on Tuesday I suggested that the judgment of His Honour Judge Purle QC in Officeserve Technologies Limited  EWHC 906 (Ch) may be an early candiate.
“I have an application before me brought on behalf of a company called Officeserve Technologies Limited (“the company”). The company has achieved what must be the stellar ambition of many of generating a turnover, I am told, of £52,000 per annum and spending £450,000 a month doing so. That is of itself astonishing and it is not surprising to find it appearing before me today on an application made by its directors seeking some form of insolvency process:”
This led to a keen debate over the best opening lines of a judgment. This debate has been chronicled and recorded for posterity by (believe it or not) the ICLR, see “Battles of the BAILLI.. the best opening lines of a judgment.” There is much to enjoy.
SOME THAT WERE MISSING
The Canadian Courts (Mr Justice Quinn) in particular provide a number of candidates., Bruni -v- Bruni  OJNo 5148(QL)
 This is yet another case that reveals the ineffectiveness of Family Court in a bitter custody/access dispute, where the parties require therapeutic intervention rather than legal attention. Here, a husband and wife have been marinating in a mutual hatred so intense as to surely amount to a personality disorder requiring treatment.”
A REMINDER THE BEST OPENING WORDS OF A JUDGMENT IN 2016
Mr Justice Gilbart in The Queen (on the application of David Dilner) -v- Sheffield City Council  EWHC 945 (Admin) encapsulates geography, history and economics in one paragraph.
Sheffield is one of the great cities of Northern England. Parts of it lie within the Peak District, which abuts its western aspect. It lies where several rivers and streams (the Rivers Don, Sheaf, Loxley, Rivelin, and Porter, Meers and Owler Brooks) flow eastwards off the Pennines. Many of its roads and streets (and especially in the suburbs running westwards and south-westwards from the City Centre) have trees planted along them, in the verges or other land within the highway. Like many of the great cities of the north of England, it suffered during the deindustrialisation of the late 20th Century and the financial stringency endured by local authorities over the last 30 years or more. The upkeep of its roads and streets were not immune to the testing climate that created for local authorities, and a backlog of maintenance developed.]
BEST OPENING WORDS OF A JUDGMENT 2016 (OTHER JURISDICTIONS)
Mr Justice Max Barrett also encompasses history and economics in White -v- The Bar Council of Ireland  IEHC 283
” Was there ever, in our long national history, a financial mess to match the rise and demise of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’? These are yet another set of proceedings that appear, ostensibly at least, to spring ultimately from that financial fiasco and to show just how insidious our recent national bankruptcy has proven over time to be for so many people in so many walks of life. Mr White is a retired High Court judge. He claims that, thanks largely to cuts in salary and pension that he suffered following on the nation’s financial crisis of recent years, and faced with the cost of rearing a still-young family, he needs at this time to return to practice at the Bar as a member of the Law Library. He objects, however, to rule 5.2.1 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar Council of Ireland which prevents him, following retirement as a judge, from practising in a court of equal or lesser jurisdiction than the court in which he was a judge. His particular objection is that he was formerly a criminal defence barrister of no little eminence and he wishes now to return to this line of practice, which has its natural focus in the Circuit and High Courts – two courts in which he cannot practice by virtue of rule 5.2.1.”