There is a striking unanimity among the current court that they really don’t know how their colleagues vote in elections, or even how they will respond to a case. “There are some on the court whose views you can guess at and be right more often than not,” mused Lord Sumption. “There’s an obvious schism between the natural parsons who tend to look at issues in moral terms and the pragmatic realists.

“Even so I constantly find that while I may be right in predicting how particular colleagues of mine will think about a legal problem, I am quite frequently wrong about the direction I expect that to take them.” (75% down the page, to the left of the picture of the library)

Would someone please explain that? Is it an indefinite demonstrative pronoun here? What's its antecedent? Is it 'a legal problem' or 'think[ing] about a legal problem', in the previous sentence in the quote? Please explain the steps or thought processes, for want of doing so by myself in the future?

  • I think "that" refers back to "a legal problem". Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


If you consider:

...about the direction I expect that to take them.

you can see it is talking about some progression (direction) related to them (colleagues).
The only such matching action would be:

how (they) will think (about a legal problem)

So that is referring to the colleages' thinking process related to legal problems.

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