Obituary: Lord Slynn of Hadley, GBC, QC, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary


Courtesy of

It is with great regret that we record the death of a member of our Editorial Board.

Gordon Slynn was born on 17 February 1930 and attended Sandbach School in Cheshire; Goldsmith's College, London and Trinity College, Cambridge.

He was called to the Bar at Grays Inn in 1956 and joined chambers at 1 Hare Court, Temple. In 1967 he was appointed Junior Counsel to the Ministry of Labour. In 1968 he became Junior Counsel to the Treasury, which role he performed for six years. He took silk in 1974 and served for two years as Leading Counsel to the Treasury. In 1976, aged only 46, Sir Gordon moved to the High Court bench by accepting an appointment to the Queens Bench Division. In 1978 he became President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

In 1981 he became Advocate-General for the UK in the European Court of Justice. Over the next eight years he successfully campaigned, with Lord Mackenzie-Stuart, to have greater importance attached to the oral argument stage of proceedings. In 1989 Slynn became the British judge in the ECJ. He managed to find the time to be, contemporaneously, Treasurer of Gray's Inn.

He returned to the UK in 1992 as a Law Lord, and he retired in 2002.

He was known for his speed and ability to isolate the critical issues of a case (earning him during his time at the ECJ the soubriquet'juris te degrande vitesse) as well as his sparkling public speaking. His academic credentials were recognised by his being made a visiting Professor of Law at Durham and Cornell Universities and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Buckingham.

Lord Slynn died on 7 April 2009 after a short illness and is survived by his wife, Odile Boutin, whom he married in 1962.

Customer comments

No comments were found for Obituary: Lord Slynn of Hadley, GBC, QC, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. Be the first to comment!