Date01 January 2014
The Honourable Mr Justice Michael Peart
Judge of the High Court of Ireland
Judge in Residence at the Hibernian Law Journal 2013–2014
This year nds the Judge in Residence in reective mood brought on
perhaps by the knowledge that it is now 100 years since the assassination of
Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and the commencement of all that
so horrically ensued and became so inappropriately remembered as ‘The
Great War.’ That centenary prompted me recently to re-read Barbara W.
Tuchman’s superb Guns of August 1914 – a book which has languished on
my bookshelves since my undergraduate days when the sun always shone
and soft and gentle zephyrs blew – and which is reckoned by many to be
the best historical account of the origins of that conagration.
On taking the book from my shelf and blowing off the dust, I discovered
inside a postcard which I must have used as a bookmark at the time. It is a
card written to me by my headmaster following the modest results which
I had achieved in my leaving certicate examinations in 1966, but which
were sufcient in those days to enable me to do whatever I should wish to
do in life. I think it was the discovery of that card, and reading again the
headmaster’s hope that my life would be fruitful and well-spent, that has
caused me to reect on whether that hope has been thus far fullled, or
whether like Shakespeare’s Richard II I wasted time and now doth time
waste me.
Like most people who have reached a certain age, I think that there is so
much more I could have read, learned and done if only I had appreciated
sufciently how brief is summer, and how quickly life moves from spring
to autumn. I am comforted however by the words of Aeschylus found on
a fragment in Ancient Greece “it is always in season for old men to learn.
As I write I notice that on top of my ever-growing pile of ‘must read’ books
is the rst volume of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu’ – how apt is
I am glad to say that there is little danger that any of the authors of
the six essays within this volume of the Hibernian Law Journal will at age
64 wonder if they might not have made better use of their time. They are
already scholarly and accomplished, and have demonstrated a mastery of
their subject in what they have offered their readers. They have answered
the call for work on interesting subject-matter. I have no doubt, judging by
the erudition of their work, that they will continue to thrive and hopefully
prosper within their chosen career in law, wherever it takes them. Indeed,
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