Gift helps family judge bear the prospect of retirement

The Oxford Times: Judge Tom Corrie with his ‘retirement bear’ similar to the toys he has given out to children in adoption cases at Oxford Crown Court during his career. Picture: OX67434 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo Judge Tom Corrie with his ‘retirement bear’ similar to the toys he has given out to children in adoption cases at Oxford Crown Court during his career. Picture: OX67434 Damian Halliwell

A JUDGE was handed a special gift after he retired after a 45-year career at the Bar.

Judge Tom Corrie was given a teddy bear – a present he used to give out to children in adoption cases – after he had presided over hundreds of cases in the family courts.

Judge Corrie said he felt sad leaving Oxford Crown Court where he has worked for the last 20 years, and the branch of law he enjoyed the most.

He said: “There is a tinge of melancholy – I have, after all, been doing it for 20 years.

“I did all types of law in my career – criminal, civil and mostly family – and I feel very sad to be leaving my post.”

His leaving do, held on Friday, was attended by his family and grandchildren. And he took the opportunity to have his son Matthew Corrie, a barrister, bow to him.

He said: “It is the first time he has ever done that before. I certainly enjoyed it.”

Judge Corrie was called to the bar in 1969. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1984, a Recorder in 1988 and a Circuit Judge in 1994. He was the designated family judge at Oxford County Court from 2001 to 2005.

Asked if a particular case stood out for him, the 67-year-old was reminded of a cheating husband.

He said: “It was a divorce that amused me the most.

“A woman found out her husband had a mistress and she attacked him with a rolling pin.

“She was waiting for him behind the door. That was 30 years ago and made it onto page 3 of The Sun.”

Talking about changes to legal aid, Judge Corrie, who lives in Lower Heyford, said the job was not what it used to be and that legal aid cuts in civil cases were not in the interests of justice.

He said: “I am concerned that in family law we can’t do the job as well for the disadvantaged, who need it the most. Politicians’ ways are mysterious.

“With the removal of civil legal aid, I feel I couldn’t do the job as well as I could at the start.”

Although Judge Corrie said he wanted to spend his retirement days with his four granddaughters and doing the things he likes most, such as travelling, he may return to court in the future.

He said: “I might come back from time to time to sit as a deputy judge. This is not confirmed yet but it is something I wouldn’t mind doing for a few weeks a year.”

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