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An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
This volume is a tribute to Lord Bingham, recognized internationally, as well as in the UK, as being one of the most influential judges of 20th century through his judicial and academic work during an historical period which has seen much turbulence, controversy and change.
During his remarkable career Bingham held in succession the two most senior judicial offices in England and Wales: Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice, followed by the highest judicial office in the United Kingdom, that of Senior Law Lord and an honour by Her Majesty with the Order of a Knighthood of the Garter. Through his scholarly writing he was influential, in the early 1990s, in arguing in favour of UK incorporation of the European Human Rights Convention and later for the creation of a UK Supreme Court.
This book brings together more than 50 essays written either by colleagues who have known Bingham, or those who have been influenced by him, whether in academia or legal practice. The result is truly diverting, revealing and enlightening, equally for the practitioner or indeed the general reader. Certainly the `Biographical Sketch: The Early Years' section of the introduction - complete with photographs -- is a riveting read.
Even as a schoolboy, Bingham revealed himself as an intellectual and academic prodigy, later to develop into a polymath with a formidable range of interests, ambitions and achievements. The son of two doctors, one of them, his mother, an American who had grown up on a ranch in California, he displayed an array of talents which could have taken him successfully in almost any direction he might have wanted to go.
As students of poetry, we were intrigued to learn, for example, of his early prowess in that sphere, winning an award at school for his poem `Since Sinai' which expresses the theme of God revealed through the beauty and power of nature. Subsequently, despite the demands of his profession, he has always found time to write and to preside over a number of bodies, including the Hay Festival. It's one of the losses to modern public life that our senior judges are not called upon to make more public speeches as the clarity of Bingham's thought (and those of his colleagues) is a talent this country vastly under-uses: one day, when others read books like this, the position might change, and general communication of information improved from its current woeful state.
Full of treasures of information and insight -- this book tells in 900 pages, from a number of detailed viewpoints, the story of a life richly lived, whose judicial and academic influence has enriched the life of nations worldwide. In particular, you might be interested in the intriguingly worded Chapter 9 `What Decisions Should Judges Not Take?' by Jeffrey Jowell. Above all, we were impressed with Nicholas Phillips' account of Lord Bingham's reputation for unfailing courtesy, especially to members of the Bar who came before him. Would that all judges were like that and we use them more in public life! ISBN: 978-01- 995-66181Tom Bingham and the Transformation of the Law: A Liber Amicorum OverviewTom Bingham is among the most influential judges of the twentieth century, having occupied in succession the most senior judicial offices, Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and, currently, Senior Law Lord.His judicial and academic work has deeply influenced the development of the law in a period of substantial legal change.In particular his role in establishing the new UK Supreme Court, and his views on the rule of law and judicial independence have left a profound mark on UK constitutional law.He has also been instrumental in championing the academic and judicial use of comparative law, through his judicial work and involvement with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. This volume collects around fifty essays from colleagues and those influenced by Lord Bingham, from across academia and legal practice.The essays survey Lord Bingham's pivotal role in the transformations that have taken place in the legal system during his career.
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