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conditions. I was to wear starched collars in court. I was to grow no facial hair. I was to let Lady Cantley win at croquet. I willingly complied. When we were at York a very seasoned advocate appeared before us. ‘That’s who you should have as your pupil master’ said the Judge. I said I would be delighted. But how could it be arranged?
‘Leave it to me’ said the Judge. He sent me out and called Gilbert Gray in. Twenty minutes later I had pupillage with one of the finest advocates on the Circuit. Gilly later told me what had happened. The Judge had said that if Gilly took me off the Judge’s hands then he would back him for Silk. Thus I like to think the reason that great advocate got Silk was down to me.
In those days you paid 100 guineas to your pupil master. I told Gilly that progressive pupil masters were waiving that fee. ‘I’m not a progressive’ was the gruff response. But it was a wonderful twelve months. There was only one scary moment. It was when the Head of Chambers called me into his room. He demanded to know if I had been sleeping with the typist. I replied that I had not. To which came the terse response ‘very well then, you go and sack her’.
The Judge for whom I marshalled was a distinguished lawyer from Manchester. He was very kind to me. He went on to become Treasurer of the Inn. But he was a stickler for protocol. One day he ticked off a long winded counsel. ‘Your Brief is not a musical score Mr Snooks: you don’t need to play every note’.
Effectively silenced counsel failed thereafter to put a single question to the relevant witnesses. The Judge intervened. ‘Mr Snooks although I said you needn’t play every note, you might at least hum the tune’. I went
on to become a Judge at the Old Bailey – the premier Crown Court in the land - and still remember my days learning the ropes in 1970.
Pupillage passed in a moment. Tenancy in Leeds Chambers followed. Then in the words of Gilbert & Sullivan in Trial by Jury – ‘Briefs came trooping gaily’ after I’d learnt to ‘Throw dust in the jurymen’s eyes, And to hoodwink a Judge who was not over wise’. But my early success did not require me, as it did Gilbert’s operetta hero, to marry my solicitor’s elderly ugly daughter ‘who may very well pass for forty-five in the dusk with the light behind her’. Instead I was inveigled into marriage to a young teacher of French from Lancashire. Within months we were wed. Nine months later she gave birth to a baby Middle Templar. Eighteen months after that came another baby Middle Templar: this time a girl. It gives me great pride that my son Nick and daughter Charlotte have seen fit to follow in my footsteps and practise at the Bar in Leeds, one in Crime and the other in Family.
When I was still only 35 I was appointed an Assistant Recorder, a part time judge, entitled to try small cases like burglary and assault. It was good training for my appointment to the Old Bailey where the diet was Murder and Terrorism. After twenty years as a criminal Junior I took Silk. I became a door tenant in Chambers in the Temple. Sixteen years defending the innocent and prosecuting the guilty, and then to the Bench. I also found time to become Chairman of the Serious Crime Seminars for Senior Judges, sit on the Parole Board and in the Grand Court in Cayman.
After ten years on the Bench and over forty years of marriage to the long suffering Mrs Worsley I have retired to live in the country in North Yorkshire.
There I indulge our six grandchildren and pass my
time collecting silver, stamps and Vanity Fair prints, improving my bridge and croquet and trying to breed peacocks. I even do some sitting in York Crown Court - when they are desperate.
When I was a youngster you had to take the 11+ to go on to a Senior School. I failed it. I shall always be grateful to my parents who made the financial sacrifice and
had the imagination to send me to the Senior School at Hymers. I have since been a Governor at Leeds Grammar School and Scarborough College and now appreciate that an inspiring School can give you the confidence to make the best of whatever life brings your way.
Paul Worsley I 237
  My Coat of Arms

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