First President of British Supreme Court visits Auckland Law School

24 March 2013
Lord Phillips for website1

The Auckland Law School arranged the visit of this year’s New Zealand Law Foundation Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.

Lord Phillips was the first President of the British Supreme Court, retiring in October 2012. Among many other significant judicial appointments he has been Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and (before the establishment of the Supreme Court) senior law lord.

He delivered a public lecture at Old Government House on Tuesday 26 March, exploring the origin and development of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

“Lord Phillips is one of the most important Judges of his generation and we were pleased to host him on his visit to New Zealand. His involvement in the establishment of the British Supreme Court means he was able to offer a unique perspective,” says Dr Andrew Stockley, Dean of The Auckland Law School.

In his lecture Lord Phillips examined the establishment of the British Supreme Court in 2009. This represented a milestone in the constitutional history of the United Kingdom, replacing the House of Lords as the highest appellate court in the United Kingdom (other than for Scottish Criminal cases).

As the first President of the Supreme Court when it was established in 2009, until his recent retirement in October last year, Lord Phillips explained the history behind the development of the court. He touched on foundational concepts such as the separation of powers, and provided insight on the organisation and structure of the court as it exists today. He also considered some of the key cases that have come before the court, and the dialogue between the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

As well as giving a public lecture at the Law School, Lord Phillips gave a student lecture titled ‘Judge and Jury’ which critically considered the origin and development of trial by jury in the United Kingdom, and a staff seminar exploring the use of closed material evidence by courts in the United Kingdom. He also met with a large number of law students, Faculty members, lawyers and judges during the week he spent at the Auckland Law School.

 Click here to view the photo gallery of Lord Phillips visit