News Item

February 2013

First President of Supreme Court of UK is Law Foundation's 2013 Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Photo of 2013 NZLF Distinguished Visiting Fellow Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

LORD PHILLIPS OF WORTH MATRAVERS is visiting New Zealand in March as the New Zealand Law Foundation’s 2013 Distinguished Visiting Fellow. His visit is being hosted by the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. During his stay he will deliver public lectures at all New Zealand law schools and spend time with their legal academics and students.

Nicholas Phillips (Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers) was the first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge after completing national service with the Royal Navy. He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1962. He was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978, became a Recorder in 1982, and was appointed a High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench Division) in 1987. He sat in the Commercial Court and presided over the Barlow Clowes and Maxwell prosecutions. He became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1995 and a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 1999.

Lord Phillips became Master of the Rolls in 2000 and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 2005. He was the first Lord Chief Justice to be Head of the Judiciary when this role was transferred from the Lord Chancellor in 2006. Lord Phillips became the Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (the senior law lord) in 2008 and the first President of the Supreme Court when it was established in 2009. He was President of the Supreme Court from 2009 to 2012 and is a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter.

Lord Phillips is currently a Dixon Poon Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, the President of the Qatar International Court and a judge on the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.

While in New Zealand Lord Phillips will give lectures on:

The Supreme Court

This lecture explores the origin and development of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The court was established in 2009 by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. It is an independent court of appeal that replaced the House of Lords as the highest appellate court in the United Kingdom (other than for Scottish Criminal cases). The move was a milestone in the constitutional history of the United Kingdom. It separated the powers exercised by the judiciary and the upper house of parliament in the country. Symbolically, the court sits alongside, but separate to, the executive and legislative arms of the state. Lord Phillips, as the first President of the Supreme Court explains the history behind the development of the court. He touches on foundational concepts such as the separation of powers, and provides insight on the organisation and structure of the court as it exists today. He considers 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. Lectures on the Supreme Court will be given at the Universities of Auckland, Victoria and Canterbury.

Human Rights

This lecture examines the approach taken towards the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg and in the United Kingdom. More specifically, it considers how the British Parliament has given domestic effect to the Convention under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the way in which the Supreme Court has interpreted the relevant provisions of that Act. Key cases where the Strasbourg Court has extended the reach of the Act beyond the agreement of the signatories to the Convention or where the court has differed from the considered views of the House of Lords and the Supreme Court are considered. Recent developments including the possible movement away from the Convention and towards British Bill of Rights are also considered. Lord Phillips’ lectures on Human Rights will be given at the universities of AUT, Waikato and Otago.

Judge and Jury

This lecture critically considers the origin and development of a trial by jury in the United Kingdom. Lord Phillips examines some key changes in the law including the process of jury selection and the requirement of majority verdicts. A specific focus is given to the development of restrictions that have been placed on the evidence that can be put before a jury in relation to bad character evidence. The principle that the jury should make a decision on the evidence placed before them is an important one and here he considers the problems that arise with the jury and the media. More broadly, he considers the fundamental value of a trial by jury and the extent to which they can be trusted to arrive at the right decision. This lecture will be given to law students in all law schools Lord Phillips visits.

Closed Material

This lecture will explore the use closed material evidence by courts in the United Kingdom. Closed material is evidence that is relied upon by the court without disclosure to one of the parties. There are a number of proceedings where closed material proceedings have been used in the context of national security, criminal and quasi criminal proceedings. This lecture will consider some significant cases where closed material has been utilised and scrutinised by the courts. The compatibility of closed material proceedings with the principals of natural justice is also considered, along with the recent Government proposal to enact legislation to extend the use of closed material to civil proceedings. This lecture will be given to legal academics in all law schools Lord Phillips visits.

Dates for these lectures are now available.