Today is a special day and I thought I’d start by looking at what scares lawyers most?  This was discussed in 2017, there was another useful post on scary stuff in 2018. 

I have made a selection from the 2017 suggestions, where contributions were offered from Twitter.


(1) We’ll start with every lawyer’s nightmare.


Time limits!!

Waking at 4am convinced you have missed a limitation date; arriving at office at 4.22am to check file.


I woke up from a worrying dream about limitation and expired court deadlines. It’s 24 years since I was in practice. Then I found this…


(2) Moving on to a problem we have seen at every level, including the Supreme Court.

Forgetting to paginate your trial bundle


(3) Then we have the tricky issue of clients and disclosure.

Discovering late on that your client kept a detailed (unmentioned, undisclosed & incriminating) diary throughout the saga.

See  from para 312.


(4) The barrister’s nightmare – documents served late and being left to sort out the problem unaided.

“The witness statements were all sent a bit late – could you please make an oral application for relief from sanctions?


(5) The need to check documents before you send them out. 

“Sending my skeleton argument to oppo or J with asides to myself (think this argument is a bit rubbish/insert law here) still in as comments”

Oh,the unqualified joy of finding a STUPID error in a document I proof-read twice!


(6) The, oh so useful,  judicial intervention.

 the usher – at 10.29 – giving you a transcript of the decision (his own) that the judge thinks is really on point.


(7) The worry that you have left something behind on your way to court.


No matter how many years I do this job, I will never escape the lurking paranoia as I drive to Court that I’ve left the brief at home


I stop to check quite often … then stop again to check I checked correctly …


(8) Meeting the living dead in court is unusual – but not unprecedented. 

Inheritance dispute where someone turned up at a hearing claiming to be the deceased (turns out they had the same name)


(9) Worrying about exams (you’ve taken in the past) appears to be a common trait. 

I have a recurring nightmare that I’m rdg for my Law degree & never turn up for lectures, tuts or do any work then dont sit the exam. Hell!

I have been having that nightmare since 1981

I have a recurring nightmare of sitting my evidence exam and being paralysed


(10) Knowing who the judge is is useful for advocate and witness alike.

Tony Kazaz

Must have been forty years ago when I made my first appearance in court as an expert witness. It was a winter`s day with the first snows of winter on the ground in Scotland. With my client`s we were shown into a high ceilinged large room resembling a library to wait for our legal team. It was rather chilly in the room. I then saw a diminutive figure, dressed in some strange garb enter the room from a door from the far end, heading for another door in the opposite corner. I hailed to him and he stopped and came over. I told him we were cold and would he mind to turn the heat up a touch please. He said he would see to it and went on his way.
Subsequently we were called in to court and stood when the judge walked in. When I saw who it was, I was horror stricken, it was that diminutive man who I thought was the janitor. The trial started and I was called into the witness box. When I was introduced the judge raised his eyes from behind his pince nez specs and said, yes we have met, I trust it is now warm enough for him here, if not I am sure we can turn the heat up for him “.
No amount of heat would have been sufficient for those chilling few words.