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Writing about Lord Denning in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Lord Goff wrote that ‘Denning was a great master of the common law….he was one of the greatest and most influential judges ever to sit on the English bench….few would dispute that Denning was the greatest English judge of the twentieth century’.
Lord Goff added that Lord Denning ‘taught the English judiciary that the common law cannot stand still [but] must be capable of development on a case by case basis; to ensure that the principles of the common law are apt to do practical justice in a living society’.
Fiat Justitia is concerned with Lord Denning’s place in the common law tradition, as defined by Fortescue, Coke and Blackstone. Lord Denning’s approach to the role of the Judge, and the use of judicial discretion, set in the context of the common law tradition, and the assessments of his contemporaries, is evaluated with particular attention being paid to his understanding of precedent, statutory interpretation, individual rights and control of the abuse of power.
Lord Denning’s jurisprudence, as an expression of the common law tradition, is also considered in relation to current developments in the law.