Andrew Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury

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The Lord Phillips of Sudbury
Andrew Phillips Hinchingbrooke 2010.jpg
Chancellor of the University of Essex
In office
28 April 2003 – 21 July 2014
Vice-ChancellorIvor Crewe
Colin Riordan
Anthony Forster
Preceded byThe Lord Nolan
Succeeded byThe Baroness Chakrabarti
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
25 July 1998 – 7 May 2015
Life peerage
Personal details
Born (1939-03-15) 15 March 1939 (age 83)
Long Melford, Suffolk, England, UK
Political partyLiberal Democrats
SpousePenelope Ann Bennett
EducationTrinity Hall, Cambridge
OccupationBritish solicitor and politician

Andrew Wyndham Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury, OBE (born 15 March 1939) is a solicitor and former Liberal Democrat politician.

Education and legal practice[edit]

Andrew Phillips attended Culford School, Uppingham School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he read Economics and Law, then qualified as a solicitor in 1964, eventually specialising in charity law.[1] Before university he worked in his father's law firm in their home town of Sudbury. After qualifying he worked as a salaried partner at Pritchard Englefield and then Lawford & Co.[2] In 1970 he founded commercial law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite giving it the same name as his father's firm, though it was an entirely independent entity.[3]

He provided legal advice to secure charitable status for organisations including the Fairtrade Foundation, the Village Retail Stores Association, Charity Bank and Switchboard (previously the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard) (1974). Phillips also represented Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, in a case against the Church Commissioners over ethical investment of their assets in the Harries v The Church Commissioners for England case.

Phillips stepped down as senior partner of Bates Wells Braithwaite when he joined the House of Lords in 1998. An article in The Times in 2012 described him as "one of the most identifiable and respected English lawyers of his generation".[2]

Broadcasting and publishing[edit]

From 1976 to 2002, he appeared on BBC Radio 2's Jimmy Young Show as the "legal eagle," giving legal advice to the show's listeners. In 1981 and 1982 Phillips presented 30 episodes of The London Programme, a current affairs show on London Weekend Television.[4]

From 1992 until 2002 Phillips was on the board of the Scott Trust, owner of The Guardian. He has contributed a number of articles for The Guardian[5] and wrote a monthly law column for Good Housekeeping.[citation needed] He was appointed an OBE in the 1996 New Year Honours.

Phillips was the Chancellor of University of Essex from April 2003 to July 2013.

Presiding as Chancellor over the 2012 University of Essex graduation ceremony


Charity work[edit]

Phillips was co-founder and first chairman of the Legal Action Group in 1971, and also in the same year co-founded The Parlex Group of trans-Europe lawyers.[1] He co-founded the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (LawWorks) in 1996, and remains President.[1] Phillips was a member of first board of the Community Fund, distributing National Lottery funds. Phillips secured funding from The Law Society to set up the Law in Education Project in 1985 to create educational resources for schools. In 1989, the Citizenship Foundation was founded out of this project. Phillips remains President of the Citizenship Foundation (renamed Young Citizens in 2018).[6][7]

Political work and House of Lords[edit]

Phillips was originally a member of the Labour Party, and contested the 1970 General Election for Labour in Harwich. But he was expelled from the party in 1973 for publishing a letter in The Times deploring the party's policy of nationalising the top 100 companies and indemnifying trade unionists with criminal convictions,[8] and joined the Liberals in the early 1970s. He unsuccessfully stood as a Liberal candidate in Saffron Walden in both a 1977 by-election and the 1979 General Election. He was also unsuccessful as the Liberal candidate in Gainsborough and Horncastle at the 1983 general election. He was the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for Essex North East constituency for the first European Parliament elections in 1979.

On 25 July 1998, Phillips was made a life peer as Baron Phillips of Sudbury, of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk.[9] He sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. Phillips was one of six peers on the joint pre-legislative scrutiny committee of the bill that was later passed as the Charities Act 2006. He led the response to it in the Lords, putting down over 200 amendments. In 2001, he proposed an amendment to the bill that later formed the European Communities (Amendment) Act 2002 requesting that the government send a leaflet to every household in the UK spelling out the impact of the Treaty of Nice. He voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.[10] Phillips led the Liberal Democrats’ opposition in the Lords to the government's bill that eventually led to the passing of the Identity Cards Act 2006.[11][12]

In July 2006 Phillips announced that he would take a permanent leave of absence House of Lords (at the time resigning was not possible).[13][14] He introduced a Private Member's Bill permitting the resignation of life peers, but it failed.[15] Therefore, Phillips took leave of absence from the House, meaning he was unable to attend or vote, but could return at a month's notice. In 2009, Phillips ended his leave of absence, returning to the Chamber to speak and vote once again. The House of Lords Reform Act 2014 allowed him finally to resign, which he did on 7 May 2015.


Other public activities[edit]

In 2007 he made a citizen's arrest on a boy who allegedly threw Phillips's bike to the ground, after he told the boy and his friends they shouldn't cycle along a narrow path as it could be dangerous to parents with prams.[16]

In 2014 he delivered the Hinton Lecture for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations entitled "Whither the common good?". It lamented the "disillusioned citizenry", "macho-money-lust" and "licensed greed and corruption" that have taken over society.[17] At a Charity Finance Group event in 2012, he decried our "valueless society" and said the voluntary sector was its only hope.[18]

Phillips has at times criticised the law profession including the introduction of both the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000 and the Legal Services Act 2007.[19]

Views on Israel[edit]

Phillips has stated that he is a supporter of Israel, and offered to fight for Israel in the 1973 Arab–Israeli War. But visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the first time in 2001, and a number of times since, has altered his view. He believes Israel's controls on Gaza are contrary to international law and simple morality, and that international action on the Gaza situation is in the interests of Israel.[20] Phillips has called for economic and cultural sanctions on Israel.[21] The Jewish Chronicle has featured opinion articles suggesting Phillips' views are critical of Jews as well as of Israel.[22][23]

Family life[edit]

Andrew Phillips married Penelope Ann Bennett in 1968. They have a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.


  1. ^ a b c "Lord Phillips of Sudbury". Bates Wells Braithwaite. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b Ames, Jonathan (31 May 2012). "Lord Phillips: law has become tool for rich". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Who We Are". Bates Wells Braithwaite. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Andrew Phillips". IMDb. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Andrew Phillips". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  6. ^ "The Citizenship Foundation, registered charity no. 801360". Charity Commission.
  7. ^ "Our history". Young Citizens. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  8. ^ Cook, Stephen. "Newsmaker: Legal eagle – Baron Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat peer". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Page 8287 | Issue 55210, 30 July 1998 &#124". The London Gazette.
  10. ^ Phillips, Lord Andrew (7 March 2019). "'There can be no more reluctant Brexiteer than me'". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  11. ^ King, Oliver; agencies (6 March 2006). "New ID cards defeat for government". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Peers threaten to scupper ID card link to passports". The Independent. 6 March 2006. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  13. ^ White, Michael (11 July 2006). "Lib Dem peer loses bid to hand seat to 'new blood'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  14. ^ Dines, Graham (26 July 2006). "Call me Mr Phillips". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Life Peerages (Disclaimer) Bill [HL] – Hansard". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Suffolk lord makes citizen's arrest". Ipswich Star. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  17. ^ "NCVO – Hinton lectures". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Lord Phillips: 'Valueless' society needs the voluntary sector". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  19. ^ Ames, Jonathan (31 May 2012). "Lord Phillips: law has become tool for rich". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  20. ^ Lord Phillips of Sudbury (3 December 2012). "Palestine: United Nations General Assembly Resolution". Lords Hansard. UK Parliament. 3 December 2012 : Column 507. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  21. ^ Andrew Phillips (1 February 2010). "No relief for the Palestinians while Israel enjoys impunity". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Jews? Many are just prejudiced". The Jewish Chronicle. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  23. ^ Jonathan Hoffman (3 November 2010). "Lord Phillips: "America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish Lobby"". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Essex
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Phillips of Sudbury
Followed by
The Lord Haskins