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Lord Denning: Life, Law and Legacy


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Lord Denning: Life, Law and Legacy

ISBN13: 9780854902941
Published: March 2023
Publisher: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £30.00

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"In this excellent book, James Wilson has managed to capture both the man and the judge." From the foreword by Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury

"easy to read, full of interesting information and very well produced... a readable, honest and accurate portrait of the man and some of his most interesting and significant judgments."

The Law Society Gazette

"This is not the first book to have considered Denning's career nor is likely to be the last; but, by making full use of archive material in its treatment of Denning's life outside as well as inside the law ...it is for now the best."

The Times Literary Supplement

"A review of Lord Denning's life and work from a greater distance and perhaps with more rounded perspective than earlier biographies is certainly welcome... provides not only a detailed, insightful, and accessible account of Lord Denning's life and career; it also includes reliably succinct and yet scholarly accounts of his contributions... one can only agree with Lord Neuberger's assessment in the foreword that 'Wilson has managed to capture both the man and the judge'.

New Law Journal

Lord Denning was the most famous English judge of the twentieth century. Arguably, he was the most famous of any century.

His judgments were legendary for both their style and substance. The style was instantly recognisable, with his short sentences and unique method of storytelling. The substance was always less about law and more about justice, as Denning looked for the fairest outcome to every case before him.

Over time, Denning’s views on justice and his manipulation of precedent became increasingly controversial. As society changed around him, he adhered rigidly to the Edwardian morality of his childhood. His report on the Profumo Affair – the most sensational political scandal of post-war Britain – was dismissed by some as an ‘establishment whitewash’. His rulings in trade union disputes earned him many critics, while his dismissal of the appeal of the ‘Birmingham Six’ falsely convicted of a terrorist atrocity became notorious when a gross miscarriage of justice was later uncovered. Yet enough goodwill remained for him to be called after his death ‘the best-known and best-loved judge in the whole of our history’ by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham.

For all his controversies, there is no question that Denning led an extraordinary life. Born into a family of modest means in a small Hampshire town in 1899, he went on to gain two firsts from Oxford and a commission in the First World War, before becoming a successful barrister and serving almost 40 years as a senior judge.

This book looks at that remarkable life story as well as assessing Denning’s legacy, showing how he continues to influence, inspire and occasionally infuriate.

General Interest, Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, Biography
Lawyers on Lord Denning
Lord Denning on Lord Denning
Note on Currency
Chapter I: Beginnings – From Whitchurch to Oxford
Chapter II: The First World War
Chapter III: 1920s – From Oxford to the Bar
Chapter IV: 1930s – From First Marriage to the Second World War
Chapter V: The Second World War
Chapter VI: Judicial Beginnings – Wills, Wives and Wrecks
Chapter VII: 1945–47 – Second Marriage, Second Judicial Role
Chapter VIII: The Court of Appeal
Chapter IX: The House of Lords
Chapter X: Master of the Rolls – Appointment and Beginnings
Chapter XI: Profumo
Chapter XII: Master of the Rolls – Travel and Other Engagements
Chapter XIII: Master of the Rolls – Pre-trial Remedies
Chapter XIV: Master of the Rolls – Common Law
Chapter XV: Master of the Rolls – Family Law
Chapter XVI: Master of the Rolls – Employment Law
Chapter XVII: Master of the Rolls – Public Law
Chapter XVIII: Master of the Rolls – Security of the Realm
Chapter XIX: Master of the Rolls – A Belated Author
Chapter XX: Master of the Rolls – Resignation
Chapter XXI: Later Years
Chapter XXII: The End
Chapter XXIII: A Final Judgment
Appendix I: Denning in the Law Reports
Appendix II: Societies and Other Organisations
Appendix III: Select Bibliography