After just under 24 years sitting as a full-time judge, Nic Madge has announced his retirement from the bench. Legal Action readers will know Nic best from his writing on housing law with Jan Luba QC (the ‘Ant and Dec of housing’ according to Garden Court’s James Bowen) and may be only dimly aware of his day job as a circuit judge.
It was fitting that Nic’s retirement was marked at both Luton Crown Court, where he sat as a Crown Court judge, and the County Court at Central London, for he is that rare beast among lawyers: a legal colossus with a distinguished career in both the civil and criminal law spheres. He has been widely acknowledged as an incredibly able and hard-working judge, while at the same time continuing to make the law more accessible through his writing.
As well as writing for LAG (where, aside from Legal Action, he also co-authors the Housing Law Casebook and Defending Possession Proceedings), Nic sits on the editorial board for the White Book, which is the leading text on civil procedure. This tome featured in one of the anecdotes told about the learned judge at the London event to mark his retirement. Apparently, the usually unflappable Nic panicked when, on one occasion, he could not find his phone; he eventually located it hidden in the pages of the book.
What marks Nic out as a judge and a lawyer is his sense of social egalitarianism and commitment to access to justice. As Nic told Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre supervising solicitor Sue James last year (see November 2017 Legal Action 8–10
): ‘It’s people, law and justice.’ It can be guaranteed, then, that however he chooses to fill his time, he will continue to contribute for the greater good of all.