Review: An Unusual Law firm: Rt Hon Lord Woolf, CH

Past generations of regulation students have been recommended to read through the autobiographies of retired judges and that was surely the circumstance with that of Lord Wheatley A single Man’s Judgement: an autobiography (1987). There was assumed typically then to be a lot to be learnt about the central workings of the lawful technique and attorneys from the lifting of some sort of judicial veil.

What was an abnormal event in the past is not so now and other memoirs are offered, these as Lord Brand’s An Advocate’s Tale (1996). The literature on judicial memoirs now involves those people of Lord Woolf, sometime lord main justice of England and Wales, in which he recounts his remarkable occupation and some of the most crucial strains of development in English law, and policy, over the final half century.

The household experienced moved north from Newcastle and become associated in a residence building business. The surprise at the outset of this tale is that Harry Woolf, as he then was, appeared originally at educational institutions in Glasgow, and later at Fettes in Edinburgh (1946-1951).

A further more surprise, following the shift of the Woolf relatives to London, was the alternative of University Higher education, London to review legislation over a location at Cambridge. A several words and phrases evaluating and contrasting the mother nature of a law education and learning in between these possibilities is furnished but could possibly have been made more, specified all that Lord Woolf attained by not following what would seem to have been the traditional route.

The description of the apply of a barrister (1956-1979) and Treasury devil (junior counsel) are illuminating as to the reality of authorized small business, in the latter position he frequently appeared in two or three courts in the same working day. Lord Woolf’s experience of courts martial through armed service nationwide company could have been designed even further as it did feel to help him when he begun at the bar alone.

The recollections of the transfer from apply at the bar into a judicial career and the many roles taken thereafter are also of desire, and are narrated as a smoother changeover than may perhaps have been in point. As with quite a few historic situations, what now seems to have been inevitable may perhaps not have been that at the time.

Relentlessly polite and restrained, there are distinct constitutional points remaining set out for posterity: it is not to be overlooked that a prime minister, with a lawful qualification, made a decision to abolish the place of work of lord chancellor and transfer political accountability for the justice program to the house secretary with no consultation with those afflicted (which includes Lord Woolf as lord main justice), and nor is the perception by the primary minister that legislation for his grand prepare was pointless.

Thinking about the ebb and move of modifications in excess of a lengthy domestic and global judicial vocation, Lord Woolf identifies individuals alterations he welcomes, but also expresses regret on what has been lost in authorized observe. Likely all people can remember superior situations but Lord Woolf’s exceptional practical experience supports this kind of sights.

An Unheard of Law firm: Rt Hon Lord Woolf, CH

Sherri Crump

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