Nicholas Phillips

Nicholas Phillips retired in 2012 after three years as the first president of the UK Supreme Court. ‘Closed Material’ is a version of last year’s Blackstone Lecture, delivered at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Closed Material

Nicholas Phillips, 17 April 2014

It is my habit every morning to cycle to Hampstead Heath and to swim in a bathing pond there. My return route takes me up Downshire Hill, a broad street lined with the homes of the very rich. One house always used to puzzle me. It was very poorly maintained and swathed in invasive ivy. Then, one day in 2006, there was something about it in my local newspaper. The owner was an 86-year-old man called Allan Chappelow, a recluse who had rarely left the house in his later years. He had been found dead under a metre high pile of papers.

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