“Musing” on My Lord, Honourable Justice M.B. Idris


May I introduce you to a rare Jurist, a Judge per excellence, the darling of advocates and litigators alike, a quintessential legal luminary and I dare say, the Cicero of the Federal High Court.

Let me first and foremost say that I have had the opportunity of appearing before about 20 Federal High Court Judges and  more High Court Judges. My ‘muse’ on My Lord, Idris J. (as I prefer to call him) is rooted in the aggregate of my experience before all the High Court Judges, both at Federal High Court  and States High Court. In my estimation, I have not seen a Judge that combines all the qualities inherent in Idris J.

Idris J. is a Judge that has the full demeanour of a Judge. Cool, calm and calculated. You would not catch Idris J. go into argument with a counsel. He would never descend into the arena. He understands and appreciates the powers he possesses as a Judge and he exercises them judicially and judiciously.

In the appreciation and application of Law, Practice and Procedure, Idris J. is primus inter pares, nulli secundus. Idris J does not fall in the category of Judges that you appear before with residual knowledge of the law. Senior Advocates (those who do not know how to give gifts to judges) pray fervently to have their matters before Idris J. because with Idris J., they are certain that the law and only law would come to play.

As a young counsel, you go to Idris J.’s court with your wisdom pad, taking notes of Law, Practice and Procedure. Idris J. is a Judge that is always glad to have his rulings and judgments taken to the Court of Appeal, in cases I have witnessed, Idris J. would hint counsel, “the Court of Appeal has recently agreed with my position on this issue.”

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Idris J. doesn’t discriminate between a Senior Advocate and (Junior) Advocate. For him, everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities. Idris J. would not interject a Senior Advocate while making his submission in court, the same way he wouldn’t interject a Young Wig while “fumbling” with his submission.

Due to his vast knowledge of the Law, Idris J. delivers bench rulings as though it is the new norm. If he must adjourn for ruling, the space is usually within 5 judicial days. When you have Judgments and Rulings delivered by Idris J., you laminate them and put them in reference file for future cases.

Idris J. reminds you of the good old days of Judges sitting on the dot of 9am. Judges who are not sluggish in the discharge of their judicial functions. Judges who do not unnecessarily prolong proceedings. Judges who are sound, fair and firm. Judges who are in full control of their courts. In spite of My Lord’s apparent young age, Idris J. is a Judge from the good old days. On a day that My Lord’s residence was reported to have been engulfed by fire, Idris J. was in court on the dot of 9am for the days business.

Idris J. is a Judge that clearly understand what ‘justice’ means. In all cases, he seeks to do justice no matter whose ox is gored. He is a conscientious and incorruptible judge.

You can only appreciate my urge to put this down if you have appeared before several Judges and you have been blessed by nature to appear before My Lord, Idris J.

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This is my opinion and I am entitled to it! You  right to disagree with me is fully guaranteed.


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