18 OCTOBER 1997, Page 49

Black-letter law

Sit: Mr Justice Popplewell's haughty letter (Letters, 4 October) dismissing Alan Wat- kins's article does no more than deftly illus- trate what aught be called the Judge's Fal- lacy: by the narrow terms within which I find I am bound to consider this wide ques- tion, the decision made is necessarily cor- rect.

And, as the Judge told us, he can rely Upon other judges who agreed with him and who said he was right to prove he was right. Indeed, had the matter gone further, there might well have been more judges, this time in the House of Lords, who showed he was right by confirming he was right — or perhaps wrong. But never mat- ter. All's well in the garden.

What Alan Watkins was saying was that in such an important matter there clearly should have been a jury, and he was demonstrating how one of the parties man- aged to avoid the danger of it, to their hoped-for advantage. One may not notice the blindingly obvi- ous if one's eyes are well protected by black-letter law.

Jonathan Davies

1 Middle Temple Lane, Temple, London EC4