Lord Bingham tributes: ‘a passionate supporter of the Human Rights Act’

13 September 2010 by

We posted yesterday on the sad death at age 76 of Lord Bingham of Cornhill, former Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and law lord. There have been a number of tributes to the highly respected jurist:

Alex Bailin QC, on the UK Supreme Court Blog – this is well worth reading: “Despite having had a largely commercial practice at the Bar, his legal legacy will surely be grounded in the body of human rights jurisprudence which he created from 2000 until his retirement in 2008… Although his Opinions in human rights cases were generally measured in tone, he was undeniably a passionate supporter of the Human Rights Act.  In his address (when he was Lord Chief Justice) to the House of Lords during the passage of the Human Rights Bill, he famously quoted Milton’s Areopagitica in support of the proposed progressive reform: “Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live.”

Daily Telegraph obituary: On Bar reforms: “In 1989 he became the first judge to speak out strongly in favour of the Conservative government’s proposed reforms of the legal profession – in particular the proposal to dismantle the Bar’s monopoly of the right to appear as advocates in the High Court”

On the Supreme Court: “he was adamant that the British court should not follow the American model and could never challenge the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty by having the power to strike down acts of parliament”

On the Human Rights Act: “… he was the first senior judge to call for the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty: “As long as people anywhere fight torture and slavery; treasure free speech, fair trials, personal privacy and liberty itself – Lord Bingham will be remembered.”

Guardian summary of tributes: “Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC… “It is no exaggeration to say that Tom Bingham was the greatest judge of our time – arguably the most significant judicial figure among the long line of notables in the history of the Anglo-Saxon legal systems.””

Afua Hirsch in the Guardian: “As a new legal correspondent – conspicuous by the combination of my age, gender and race – he was the only senior judge to treat me with immediate respect. He followed all my articles with interest, sometimes complimenting me and sometimes challenging me to think further.

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