A RETIRED Supreme Court justice headed a gathering of judges and lawyers of all ranks from across the country as the legal world paid tribute to Judge Paul Batty KC at York Crown Court.

The former Recorder of York, appeal court judge, leading barrister, seaman and fisherman died earlier this month aged 69 following a sudden infection.

His family were at his bedside.

Judge Batty’s wife Angela, daughter Sarah and brother-in-law Graham were all present in Courtroom One to hear the eulogy to the beloved husband, father and grandfather to Sarah’s two daughters.

The current Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, a long-time friend of Judge Batty, spoke of his predecessor’s indefatigable work both as a "formidable advocate" and a highly respected judge and how he would rise early and have a swim before settling down to a day on the bench.

Judge Morris talked about the spirit and family love that enabled Judge Batty to survive the accident in 2018 that put him in intensive care and ended his active career, and described how the then Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, attended his bedside in full episcopal robes straight from an engagement.

He told the assembled gathering both in court and remotely on video link they were not there to weep but to celebrate the life of the man who combined his high-flying legal career with his lifelong love of the sea and his many years at the helm of his sea-going boats.

Judge Batty was also a great raconteur and had a renowned sense of humour that he loved to deploy in and out of court.

Judge Morris was joined by Lady Justice Thirlwall, former senior presiding judge in England and Wales, Lord Justice James Goss KC, former presiding judge of the North-Eastern Circuit, and Judge Simon Hickey, who is based at York Crown Court.

Also in attendance were Judge Andrew Stubbs KC, who was acting resident judge of York after Judge Batty’s accident, Judge Stephen Ashurst, Judge Batty’s immediate predecessor as Recorder of York, other judges, barristers headed by Richard Wright KC, solicitor advocates, solicitors, probation officers, court staff and others.

Many more joined by video link from across the country, including the former Supreme Court judge Lady Black of Derwent and Sir Richard McCombe, retired Court of Appeal judge. Many current judges delayed their own sittings to attend remotely from their own courtrooms.

Among courts linking in was Carlisle Crown Court where Judge Batty was the resident judge and Recorder of Carlisle for eight years. He was elected Freeman of the City of Carlisle in 2016.

Replying to the eulogy, Mr Wright, who also knew Judge Batty well, spoke of the “heavy sadness” of how “we will not spend any more time in his sparkling company” or watch Judge Batty’s shoulders heaving with laughter.

“He was quite simply the very best company and the very best friend,” he said.