Derek Oulton

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Sir Derek Oulton
GCB QC PhD (Cantab.)
Clerk of the Crown in Chancery
In office
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Succeeded by Sir Thomas Legg
Personal details
Born (1927-10-14) 14 October 1927 (age 87)
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge
Profession Lawyer

Sir Antony Derek Maxwell Oulton, GCB, QC, PhD (Cantab.), M.A. (Cantab.) (born 14 October 1927)[1] is a retired British senior civil servant, was Permanent Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Department and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, United Kingdom, 1982–1989.

Sir Derek was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford and then read law at King’s College, Cambridge, where he took a double first.

He was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn (where he was later a Bencher), and was in private practice as a barrister in Nairobi until 1960, when he joined the Lord Chancellor’s Department. He was Private Secretary to three successive Lord Chancellors, Lords Kilmuir, Dilhorne, and Gardiner, and also served as Secretary to the Beeching Royal Commission on Assizes and Quarter Sessions, 1966–69.

Sir Derek's final civil service position was as Permanent Secretary of the Lord Chancellor’s Department and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery 1982–89.

He was awarded a University of Cambridge PhD on the basis of a jointly-authored practitioner text on legal aid and advice, and after retiring from the civil service entered academia, becoming a Research Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1990. He is now a Life Fellow and, until his retirement in June 2007, supervised undergraduate students in constitutional law. Sir Derek received a standing ovation from the College Law Society following his retirement at the Annual Lawyers' Dinner in 2007. A bench sits beside the River Cam in the grounds of the College in his honour.

On 8 May 2008, Sir Derek addressed the Cambridge University Gray's Inn Association, giving a talk entitled "A Life in the Law".[2]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Cambridge University Gray's Inn Association