Vale Lord Bingham of Cornhill

The members of the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law were sad to learn of the very recent passing of Lord Bingham of Cornhill, KG, the former Senior Law Lord, who was also a member of the Centre. 

Lord Bingham, it will be remembered, got the Centre’s annual guest lecture programme, post formation, off to such a great start with his excellent address on contractual interpretation, in March, 2008.  (Lord Bingham referred to this as “help[ing] to baptise” the Centre.)

That address, entitled, “A New Thing Under the Sun?  The Interpretation of Contract and the ICS Decision”, was later published in the Edinburgh Law Review (2008 12 ELR 374-390).  The published address, of course, has proved to be of great value, and was referred to by the Centre’s speaker for the following year, Lord Hoffmann, in his opinion, in Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd [2009] UKHL 38, [2009] 1 AC 1101, paras 37, 38 and 40.  It has also been referred to in academic literature: both in this country and abroad.

The visit, to the Centre, by Lord Bingham, in March, 2008, was a tremendous and most memorable occasion.  What stands out is not just that Lord Bingham illustrated what a brilliant and incisive lawyer he was, but his impeccable manners and kindness, his interest in everything and everyone, and the spirit of bonhomie at the reception and dinner after his address.  This great atmosphere was one which Lord Bingham contributed so much to.

Lord Bingham’s immense contributions to the Law, and details of his life have been referred to in various fine obituaries and tributes in newspapers and news websites.  It is not the purpose of this blog to comment on, or add to, those obituaries and tributes, apart from the above.  However, the present writer would draw readers’ attention to the succinct, but eloquent and poignant, tribute, to Lord Bingham, on the Supreme Court website (, by the Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lord Hope of Craighead (who continued in the tradition Lord Bingham started, by being the Centre’s guest speaker, in March, this year). 

It goes without saying, that Lord Bingham, who was such an outstanding jurist and a thorough gentleman, will be sorely missed.