Lord Denning

First published in Hampshire Heritage

Lord Denning is widely regarded as one of the greatest law-making judges and also the most controversial.

He was born in Whitchurch and his father Charles owned a draper's shop in the town.

He attended Magdalen College in Oxford and graduated with a first class degree in mathematics before he was called to the Bar in 1923.

Lord Denning quickly rose through the legal ranks. He was a judge for 38 years before retiring at the age of 83 in 1982.

During his career he became a law lord and master of the rolls - the most senior judge in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.

In 1997 he received the Order of Merit in recognition of his distinguished career.

He made some famous and infamous decisions in his court over his long career and was prepared to get round any rule of law that stood in his way - without waiting for the necessary legislation.

"The judge ... should make the law correspond with the justice that the case requires, " he once reportedly said.

He wrote many books including The Road to Justice in 1955 and Landmarks in the Law in 1984.

However It was his book What Next in the Law in 1982 that proved most controversial when he suggested that some members of the black community were unsuitable to serve on juries.

Afterwards Lord Denning apologised for his remarks and announced he would be retiring.

Even during his retirement he courted controversy by claiming the newly acquitted Guildford four were probably guilty - a remark for which he later apologised.

NAME: Alfred Thompson Tom' Denning, Baron Denning Occupation: First World War veteran, jurist, judge and barrister DATE OF BIRTH: January 23, 1899 DIED: March 5, 1999 LOCAL LINK: Born in Whitchurch, Hampshire and taught mathematics at Winchester College. In 1957 he became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary with a life peerage as Baron Denning of Whitchurch in the County of Southampton.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree