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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Bingham of Cornhill

In office
2000 – 30 September 2008
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Lord Browne-Wilkinson
Succeeded by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

In office
1996 – 2000
Preceded by Lord Taylor of Gosforth
Succeeded by Lord Woolf

In office
1992 – 1996
Preceded by Lord Donaldson of Lymington
Succeeded by Lord Woolf

Born 13 October 1933 (1933-10-13) (age 76)
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Loxley
Children Christopher; 1 other son; 1 daughter
Residence Holland Park, London
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Religion Christian

Thomas Henry Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill, KG, PC, QC, FBA (born 13 October 1933), was the senior law lord in the United Kingdom from 2000 - 2008. The Times called him “the pre-eminent lawyer of his generation with a brilliant, incisive mind.”[1]


Early life and career

Lord Bingham was educated at Sedbergh School (Winder House) and read modern history at Balliol College, Oxford. He married Elizabeth Loxley in 1964; they have one daughter and two sons.

He became a barrister at Fountain Court Chambers in London, and became a QC in 1972. He was appointed a High Court judge in 1980, and promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1986.

Senior judicial career

Lord Bingham became Master of the Rolls in 1992, and then Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 1996. In England and Wales, he was the highest-ranking judge in regular courtroom service; he was personally responsible for adding "and Wales" to the office's title.

He was created a life peer as Baron Bingham of Cornhill, of Boughrood in the County of Powys in 1996, when he moved to the House of Lords. He was succeeded as Lord Chief Justice by Lord Woolf in 2000, who had likewise succeeded him in 1996 as Master of the Rolls. In this year, he was the first appointed Senior Law Lord - a position formerly assumed by the longest serving Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

He was a strong advocate for divorcing the judicial branch of the House of Lords from Parliament by setting up a new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which was accomplished under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The title of the office he then held will become "the President of the Supreme Court" once that court comes into operation in October 2009, but Lord Bingham retired in July 2008. He has said that he will be "very sorry" not to become the first President.[2]


In 2005, he was appointed a Knight of the Garter, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen and one only rarely conferred on judges (Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone was a previous holder and a previous Lord Chancellor). He received the title along with Lady Soames and John Major. Additionally, he is the Chairman of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

On Thursday 16 November 2006, Lord Bingham delivered the sixth annual Sir David Williams lecture hosted by the Centre for Public Law[3] at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. The Lecture was entitled "The Rule of Law".[4]

On 17 January 2008, Lord Bingham presented the annual Hansard Lecture at the University of Southampton.

From 2001 to 2008, Lord Bingham held the office of High Steward of the University of Oxford, the second highest office in the academic hierarchy, and in 2003 he came second to Chris Patten in the election of the Chancellor. Lord Bingham is also the Visitor of Balliol College

As of 2009 he is the Chairman of UK Charity, Reprieve. [5]

Views on the legality of the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq by the USA and the UK

On 17 November 2008, in his first major speech since his retirement as the senior law lord, Lord Bingham, addressing The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, disputed the legality the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the USA, the UK and other countries. He said that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was "a serious violation of international law", and he accused Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante".

Interview on the Rule of Law

In June 2009, Lord Bingham was interviewed by legal commentator Joshua Rozenbergon the subject of the rule of law in international affairs. The interview was conducted to raise awareness of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law at The British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Lord Bingham's thoughts on this subject, in particular the banning of certain weapons in international conflict, were covered by newspapers The Independent (Top judge: 'use of drones intolerable')[6] and the Daily Telegraph (Unmanned drones could be banned, says senior judge ).[7]


Legal offices
Preceded by
The Lord Donaldson of Lymington
Master of the Rolls
Succeeded by
The Lord Woolf
Preceded by
The Lord Taylor of Gosforth
Lord Chief Justice
Succeeded by
The Lord Woolf
Preceded by
The Lord Browne-Wilkinson
Senior Law Lord
Succeeded by
The Lord Phillips


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