Judges are bound by the rules of impartiality and can neither descend into the arena of conflict nor should be seen leaning either by words or conducts in favour of any party during court proceedings. The court can only give courtroom advocacy hints and it is for the smart alecs to understand what the court is hinting at. Below are some hints and subtle insults and their meanings.
Counsel you are speaking English
You addressed the court in English so why is the Judge stating the obvious or is there any other language of advocacy? A penny for your thought! Well as innocent as that statement sounds, it means you have made no point or the Court is not willing to listen to the point you are making. Either you make a better point or quit making any point at all.
Counsel I think you like the sound of your voice
That is a hint and a subtle insult. When a court says that it means you have made your point and the court had understood the point and so you don’t need to belabour, repeat or stress that point. So it’s D’Banj’s advice to the rescue; no long thing! Make your point and keep it short. Advocacy and good music have something in common!
Counsel, do you think you are in the Customary Court?
This is more of a subtle insult than a hint. It comes as a knock for very disorderly conduct like sitting down when the court is addressing you or talking when the court is talking. Apologise immediately to save yourself from further verbal assault or a possible committal for contempt. Bad Advocacy can in extreme cases lead you to jail!
Counsel I don’t think you are prepared for this matter?
It’s more of a subtle insult than a hint. You have obviously fumbled and the judge wants to save you from further fumbles or a tongue lash. So just take the hint and ask for a short adjournment to put your house in order (of course you will not say you need an adjournment to go and get prepared). Remeber Advocacy is like combat, he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.
How old are you at the Bar?
That is a subtle way of saying your conduct or understanding is below that expected of a person called to the Nigerian Bar. So keep quiet and apologise to save yourself from being hammered further from the bench. In Advocacy, experience is everything and age might be nothing!
In conclusion, law is a code so like they say in street parlance get the passwords and know the codes. Is my conclusion too short? Sorry I’m just keeping it short. No long thing!