Getting an “opportunity to gather your skirts” in the High Court

You will often come across some choice, entertaining language in the judgments of various judges of the higher courts.

Sometimes it will be archaic and old fashioned and from a different time and place. But the phrase or words are so descriptive that you immediately understand what is meant by the phrase.

I was reading a report this morning in the Irish Times about a High Court case in which the personal injury claimant, whose evidence was being given through a Polish interpreter, got into some difficulty. So much difficulty in fact that the Judge, Mr Justice Michael Hanna, warned him about changing his evidence.

The evidence being given was so uncertain that a second interpreter was called in to interpret as the first one was seen to be evaluating the evidence given by the truck driver, Roman Siry.

The Judge was not impressed with the evidence being given and warned him “you are not doing yourself any good because I have to decide whether you are a reliable witness”.

The Judge then told Mr Siry’s counsel that he would adjourn briefly to give him “an opportunity to gather your skirts”.

After the adjournment senior counsel for the claimant said the case could be struck out. The judge thanked the second interpreter for the assistance she rendered to the court.