12:06, August 13 222 0 theguardian.com

2019-08-13 12:06:04
Letter: Marcel Berlins campaigned against the portrayal of British judges using a gavel

One aspect of Marcel Berlins’ life that must be mentioned is the gloriously quixotic campaign in his Guardian column to stop TV producers presenting British courts as American ones. He was particularly exasperated by the widespread fallacy that British judges wield gavels and he would pounce on sightings – even in programmes as classy as Rumpole.

Marcel (obituary, 8 August) could spot an errant gavel anywhere, even once on a prostitute’s card in a phone box in the Strand, which also showed a young woman wearing a legal gown and little else. He announced that he was giving up “bitter and exhausted” when the Guardian itself illustrated a legal article with a gavel.

But he could not resist a final dart when the government put out a leaflet advertising a course for civil servants with a gavel on the cover. The course was called Legal Awareness.

He was a charming, erudite, witty man of remarkable breadth.