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Soft Spur

A.W.B. Simpson, 3 February 1983

What next in the Law 
by Lord Denning.
Butterworth, 352 pp., £9.95, July 1982, 0 406 17602 7
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... When the publishers announced yet another book by Lord Denning, the fourth in three years, and one with the alarming title What next in the Law, I recall feeling a sense of foreboding: what next indeed? Recalled shortly after publication because of some unfortunate remarks about juries and the nature of society (subjects upon which judges, if one reflects on the matter, are not likely to be well-informed), What next in the Law is once more available, albeit with the naughty bits removed ...
The Due Process of Law 
by Lord Denning.
Butterworth, 263 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 406 17607 8
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... This, the companion volume to The Discipline of Law, completes Lord Denning’s current legal testament – his witness, until his next book, to the cause of justice. He writes on difficult questions of law for the pleasure of ordinary folk: and he succeeds. Yet, for all his racy style (its brevity and bravura could serve as a model for journalists), and notwithstanding his sense of mischief and love of fun, he has produced a serious contribution to the legal study, critical in our time, of the role of the judge in the public life of a common law country ...

That Man Griffith

John Griffith, 25 October 1990

Lord DenningA Biography 
by Edmund Heward.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £15, September 1990, 9780297811381
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... I should declare an interest. Anthony Sampson in The Changing Anatomy of Britain quotes Lord Denning dismissing attacks on a class-based judiciary: ‘The youngsters believe that we come from a narrow background – it’s all nonsense – they get it from that man Griffith.’ Lord Reid was a distinguished top judge ...

Cheap Fares and the Rule of Law

Paul Sieghart, 18 February 1982

... many wise and learned men – and even a woman or two – on the judicial bench, but only Lords Denning and Scarman have become darlings of the media in the 1980s – praised for their plain speech, their courage, their humanity, their championship of the underdog, and their implacable opposition to bureaucratic arrogance. So perhaps it was predictable that ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... appropriate to consign the episode to history.’ It was an odd letter and I would be surprised if Lord Goodman had drafted it, even though it comes from his office. (It was Hailsham who said in June 1963: ‘A great party is not to be brought down by a woman of easy virtue and a proved liar.’ Something of a sting at the time.) The idea conveyed is that ...

Peter Wright, Judges and Journalists

R.W. Johnson, 3 September 1987

... be unwise to protest. And one must remember that our judges are, by definition, rich men. A Law Lord earns £71,400 a year; our senior judges are recruited from the comfortable upper-middle classes and from amongst barristers earning hundreds of thousands a year. The latest antics of the Law Lords have deservedly created a storm. But no one who has studied ...

Big Fish

Frank Kermode, 9 September 1993

Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... The portrait of Lord Goodman on the jacket of his memoirs is from a photograph; the one on David Selbourne’s book is from a portrait by Lucian Freud. In the first he looks severe but quizzical, a kind man but not a man to be put upon; in the second he looks quite desperately sad, as if he had done much to little or no avail, and might well have been put upon quite heavily ...

Unmuscular Legs

E.S. Turner, 22 August 1996

The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990 
edited by C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 607 pp., £50, June 1996, 0 19 865212 7
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... second-rank, about whom it is not easy to find information elsewhere. If we do not need it for Lord Blake’s long piece on Harold Macmillan, we certainly need it for the life of a lesser prime minister, Lord O’ Neill of Northern Ireland. This is the man, we are reminded, who on retirement said: ‘It is frightfully ...

In Memoriam

Paul Sieghart, 19 March 1981

Mandy 
by Mandy Rice-Davies and Shirley Flack.
Joseph, 224 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 7181 1974 6
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... Mr Justice Marshall and a jury; convicted; and committed suicide. Passus et sepultus est. Finally, Lord Denning inquired into it all as a one-man Tribunal, and duly reported. And that, bar the strident shouting, moralising and general excitement, was that. When Harold Macmillan, the prime minister of the day, later resigned, the Profumo Scandal was ...

Inside the system

Paul Foot, 7 December 1989

... he said he was with him, must be guilty too. Again and again during both appeals the words of Lord Denning, in an earlier appeal – related to the case, echoed through the court. Lord Denning said: ‘If the six men win, it will mean that the police were guilty of perjury, that they were guilty of violence ...

Law and Class

Francis Bennion, 1 May 1980

Respectable Rebels 
edited by Roger King.
Hodder, 200 pp., £10.95, October 1979, 0 340 23164 5
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The Judge 
by Patrick Devlin.
Oxford, 207 pp., £7.50, September 1979, 0 19 215949 6
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Human Rights 
edited by F.E. Dowrick.
Saxon House, 223 pp., £9.70, July 1979, 0 566 00281 7
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In on the Act 
by Sir Harold Kent.
Macmillan, 273 pp., £8.95, September 1979, 0 333 27120 3
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Law, Justice and Social Policy 
by Rosalind Brooke.
Croom Helm, 136 pp., £7.95, October 1979, 0 85664 636 9
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Inequality, Crime and Public Policy 
by John Braithwaite.
Routledge, 332 pp., £10.75, November 1979, 0 7100 0323 4
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... way to make it so would be for one class to run the legal system, which the middle class do. Lord Devlin reminds us that in America lawyers run the political system also: ‘The Supreme Court has almost from its inception been an organ of government. Professor Cox endorses as up to date De Tocqueville’s observation that hardly a political question ...

Anglo-Irish Occasions

Seamus Heaney, 5 May 1988

... danger is that in the interests of expediency or quietism, an appeal to pseudo-justice of the old Lord Widgery sort or the newer Lord Denning sort could lead to an averted gaze, by government or the generators of public opinion, from the abiding reality. My plea, therefore, is for a renewed self-consciousness in the ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong, 17 March 2016

... example. Perhaps even this is not required: the ‘standards of perfection’ might require it, Lord Justice Lawton said in the first Court of Appeal judgment, but inquiries need not be perfect. When he first considered the question, Lord Denning said that individuals should be afforded ‘a fair opportunity for ...

Not in the Public Interest

Stephen Sedley, 6 March 2014

... were not British-born. A full court of the King’s Bench, presided over by the chief justice, Lord Reading, was assembled to hear the claim. It was opposed on behalf of the Crown by the attorney-general, F.E. Smith. Although the High Court, and subsequently the Court of Appeal, rejected it, the case is of continuing interest for more than one reason. The ...

UK Law

John Horgan, 16 August 1990

Stolen Years: Before and After Guildford 
by Paul Hill and Ronan Bennett.
Doubleday, 287 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 385 40125 6
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Proved Innocent 
by Gerry Conlon.
Hamish Hamilton, 234 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 241 13065 4
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Cage Eleven 
by Gerry Adams.
Brandon, 156 pp., £4.95, June 1990, 0 86322 114 9
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The Poisoned Tree: The untold truth about the Police conspiracy to discredit John Stalker and destroy me 
by Kevin Taylor and Keith Mumby.
Sidgwick, 219 pp., £15, May 1990, 0 283 06056 5
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... and the Court of Appeal will always get it right in the end. This is not a view which is taken by Lord Denning. British justice, he said after the quashing of the Guildford Four verdict, was ‘in ruins’. It is important, however, to pinpoint the cause of his concern. It is not the action of the Police leading to the wrongful convictions of the ...

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