THE ADVOCATE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 623
By R.C. Tino Bel
THE JUDGES’ MAGIC GLASSES
By the Honourable Mr. Justice Lloyd McKenzie*
I’m going to let you in on a state secret. When our Sovereign Lady
appoints a new judge she gives him or her a special appointment to
the Royal eye-glass dispenser, London Drug Optical, for a pair of
magic eye-glasses—they have a built-in computer. These magic
spectacles are not single vision or bifocals or trifocals, but invisible omnifocals.
They deny no sight or insight. Suddenly the wearer is given a whole
other way of seeing—it is a world transformed.
In no time the judge begins to discern the shortcomings of counsel—particularly
junior counsel. The capacity for making this discernment
increases with age.
They are unbeatable for making findings of fact—without them the judge
would never pick out the needles of truth hidden in the evidentiary
haystack or have half a chance of finding nonpecuniary loss after taking the
The top half of the trial judges’ glasses focuses only on questions of fact.
This half also makes the fine distinction between admissibility and
weight—indeed they give a reading on a true metric weight of any piece of
evidence. Theoretically, appellate judges wear only the bottom half which
* Reprinted from (1984) 42 Advocate 281. This is the text of a speech by the author on the occasion of a dinner given by
the benchers for the judiciary.