The Rt Hon Sir John Laws

It is with much regret that we report that Master Laws (The Rt Hon Sir John Laws) sadly died on Sunday, 5 April aged 74. The Inn’s flag will fly at half-mast on Wednesday, 8 April, in his memory.

Master Laws was called to the Bar in 1970. He was appointed First Junior Counsel to the Treasury (Common Law) in 1984 and a Recorder in 1985 – in this same year he was elected as a Governing Bencher of the Inn. He was appointed a High Court Judge in 1992 and to the Court of Appeal in 1999.

Elected Treasurer of The Inner Temple in 2010, Master Laws believed that “the Inner Temple should be a place of sound learning and good fellowship.” He presided over a typically full programme of education and training activities and social occasions in his year as Treasurer, and travelled internationally on behalf of the Inn to visit members, senior legal figures and institutions in Hong Kong, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur, the USA and Gibraltar. His year as Treasurer also saw him organise and host, with his usual, indefatigable dedication, a special conference entitled Democracy’s Illusions: Challenges to the Rule of Law; a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience in Hall; a debut of performance of a piece by the late Sir John Tavener, Towards Silence: and a memorable Alice in Wonderland themed Summer Party. He was supported throughout by his wife, Lady Laws (Sophie), who sadly predeceased him in 2017.

Widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading authorities in public law and democracy, Master Laws delivered the Hamlyn Lecture series in 2013, which explored the constitutional balance between law and government. On his retirement from the Bench in 2016, Master Laws was elected Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science at the University of Cambridge.

It is hoped that a memorial service will be arranged in the Temple Church in due course.