Judge uses mobile in court to solve timetable problem in 'unorthodox' move
A judge broke with tradition by using a mobile phone in court to solve an administrative problem.
Lawyers have praised Judge Richard Todd, a divorce court judge, who had a conversation with an office clerk in a bid to avoid a delay while overseeing a High Court case.
Judge Todd accepted that using a mobile in court was "unorthodox", but said he was trying to be efficient.
He answered a call from a member of staff in a case listings office while sitting on the judge's bench at the start of a trial, involving an estranged couple who are fighting over money in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Barristers had written to Judge Todd, saying they wanted to find a date for another hearing before the start of the trial, involving a couple who cannot be identified.
Information technology... offers those working in the legal system and elsewhere the opportunity to save considerable amounts of time and money
solicitor Ben Rose
Judge Todd entered court carrying a mobile and told barristers that he had called listings staff from his office. He said they were trying to find a suitable date and had his mobile number.
A listings office clerk called the judge's mobile a few minutes later, Judge Todd answered, had a conversation and made a note of a possible date, said "thank you" and ended the call, then relayed the information to barristers.
Lawyers said Judge Todd had made practical use of modern technology in a bid to save time - and public money - and had not disturbed proceedings.
Solicitor Ben Rose, who is based at law firm Hickman and Rose, said: "Information technology, properly used, offers those working in the legal system and elsewhere the opportunity to save considerable amounts of time and money."
In July last year, a judge made headlines when he did a Google search on a laptop while analysing a dentist's fight over money and his ex-wife.
Mr Justice Moor carried out internet research on a company the man worked for during a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
The dentist was not represented by lawyers and was the only person appearing before the judge. He wanted permission to challenge a ruling by a lower-ranking judge relating to the size of monthly payments he should make to his ex-wife.