Lawyers mourn death of Lord Bingham

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge has led tributes to Tom Bingham who died on Saturday, aged 76.


Lord Bingham
Lord Bingham

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge has led tributes to Tom Bingham who died on Saturday, aged 76.

Bingham was widely regarded as the country’s leading judge who held the three most senior judicial posts in the country. In 1992, he was appointed as Master of the Rolls (MR), going on to take up a four-year term as Lord Chief Justice in 1996. In 2000, Bingham became the first appointed senior law lord.

Retirement in 2008 prevented Bingham from becoming the first president of the Supreme Court, but he was a keen supporter of the decision to set up the court to replace the House of Lords.

Lord Judge LCJ said Bingham was “the most respected, distinguished and admired judge of our times”, adding: “His contributions to our understanding of the significance of the rule of law, and the principled development of the common law, have been unequalled in our generation. Judges throughout the world will recognise Tom Bingham as one of the great jurists of this generation and one of the great common law judges.”

The son of two doctors, Bingham was bought up in Surrey and was sent to Cumbrian boarding school Sedbergh. In 1952 he did his two-year national service with the Royal Ulster Rifles and went on to do a five year stint with the Territorial Army.

He attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he read history. He gained a first in 1957 and opted for a career at the bar.

Bingham joined 2 Gray’s Inn, later to become Fountain Court Chambers, where he quickly built up a strong reputation and won clients such as the Ministry of Labour.

In 1972, at the age of 38, Bingham he was awarded silk, and by 1980 he was a high court judge, joining the court of appeal in 1986.