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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Passing of a legend

Liverpool is today mourning the loss of one its most famous and popular lawyers. Graeme ‘Paddy’ Bryson died yesterday aged 99 years and 8 months.

I spoke to Paddy only a couple of weeks ago when he came to my President’s Social evening at Everton FC. He stayed until about 9.30 and wrote me a note the next day in which he apologised for leaving early saying ‘my constitution is not what it was!’ I commented at the time that I would be delighted if I had a fraction of his constitution at 99!!

One of my first tasks on becoming President of Liverpool Law Society was to attend the ceremony at Liverpool University when he was given an Honorary Doctorate in Law. Paddy himself was President in 1971 – the year I did my O Levels.

After a tribute from the University Orator he took to the microphone to say that he was formally requesting that a copy of the tribute be made available to St Peter – ‘as I will be meeting him soon and that will be an excellent testimonial’. Well that day has finally come and the legal profession has lost one of its great characters.

Paddy saw active service in WW2 and then qualified as a solicitor. After a successful career he then became a High Court Registrar – a District Judge in today’s language. Indeed I suspect he was the first real judge I ever appeared before as I was shaking at the knees attending on a consent application in 1978. He was always courteous and understanding.

In 1960 he hit the headlines when he became the only judge to be shot at in open court as he dealt with a bankruptcy case. A court official was badly wounded as Paddy wrested the assailant to the ground. With stories like that you can see why he became a legend. In his late 80s he was writing local history books including A Century of Liverpool Lawyers. He will certainly feature Large in any second edition.

He was a lawyer and judge of the old school – a perfect gentleman who will be sadly missed.

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