The judges, the decision, the rifts and the rivalries – the gripping inside story of the institution that has shaped Ireland. ‘The intimacy of the Supreme Court chamber can make it an intimidating arena.nnnnA barrister on his or her feet stands close enough to the judges to see each grimace, each raised eyebrow, each flash of momentary incomprehension on their faces. The power imbalance is total.nnnnBarristers bow as they enter and stand when the judges stand. They meekly humour the crankier judges’ bad moods and laugh ostentatiously at every joke from the bench. In return they can be flayed at any moment. “It’s the equivalent of the wall of death for barristers,” says one senior counsel.’nnnnThe work of the Supreme Court is at the heart of the private and public life of the nation.