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Lord Denning retired in 1982 aged 83. Lord Hailsham said of him that it was given to few to be a legend in their own lifetime. He said that Denning's strength lay in his rugged independence and unwillingness to tolerate injustice or pettifogging technicalities in any form. 'The Times' wrote that he had legal genius and a laudable mission to make the law accord with justice.
This great judge had a passion for justice and was a doughty defender of the individual and the unprivileged. He sought to protect the common man against abuse of power, whether by the state, the Trade Unions or the great corporations. He did what he could to help deserted wives.
In 1963 the Public Orator at Cambridge said "This man considers that the rigours of laws and precedent should be tempered by human feeling for 'He who clings to the letter is clinging to a cork.'" He was sensitive to what ordinary people thought and had the common touch