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on 8 October 2011

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

The late Tom Bingham has been described, rightly, as a towering figure in modern British public life as a judge who is "accessible" to our generation of lawyers and jurisprudents. "The Business of Judging" is an important step forward in breaking down the massive barriers which have existed in the past over what judges actually do, how they think and what views they have outside the confines of their delivered judgments.

So, here we have a series of papers collected together spanning the years 1985 to 1999 which set out Bingham's views on a wide range of matters.

The book is of immense value to legal scholars because it gives us an insight for our diverse society with views on the ethics of judging to the rule of law (a favourite theme for him). Bingham also delivers reflections on the main contours of English public and criminal law which always remain highly debatable and controversial.

No mention of Tom Bingham can be made with reference to his most important legal contribution to the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law and the big question of constitutional reform. This book sets out some of his fullest statements and early writings for this controversial subject, and his views on the role of the judiciary and the ethics of judging will be particularly relevant to jurisprudence and great help to exam students!

We would mention other works from Bingham which relate to this excellent collection thoughts, namely, `The Rule of Law' written just before he died and what can be called the sister volume to this book called `Lives of the Law' which are his later selected essays and speeches since 2000.

Its right to say that Bingham's engaging writing and delivery styles will appeal to judges, barristers and solicitors, and any commentators and observers interested in constitutional, social and public affairs. He's also an extremely helpful guide to the working of the law today and his thoughts give us a much better understanding of the role of law in contemporary society, and how the courts are now moving forward as modernization is well and truly underway.

The last word goes to Tom Bingham from the Preface to this work written in 2000. He explains that judges are often invited to give lectures on subjects with a legal slant, or to contribute papers for legal conferences. He says, many have to be declined, but some are accepted possibly because the request comes from someone who is hard to refuse. We are very glad he has accepted the invitation to put his views forward as the requests from the public have been well answered here. Thank you!
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