Gerald Upjohn, Baron Upjohn

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Brigadier Gerald Ritchie Upjohn, Baron Upjohn CBE, PC, DL (25 February 1903 – 27 January 1971) was a British soldier and judge.

The younger son of William Henry Upjohn served in the Welsh Guards during the Second World War, reaching the rank of brigadier. In 1948, he sat with Sir George Lynskey and Sir Godfrey Vick on the Lynskey tribunal. Appointed to the Privy Council in 1960, he was Lord Justice of Appeal from 1960 to 1963. On 26 November 1963 he became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and was made additionally a life peer by the style title Baron Upjohn, of Little Tey in the County of Essex.[1]

While a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary he contributed to a number of significant cases. Three cases of particular importance are Boardman v Phipps [1967] 2 AC 46 (giving a powerful dissent), Vandervell v IRC [1967] 2 AC 291 (where he gave a majority speech) and In re Gulbenkian's Settlements [1970] AC 508.

An interesting problem arose on Lord Upjohn's death. The Judicial Committee of the House of Lords would ideally sit with an odd number of judges, to ensure a clear decision. Lord Upjohn's death raised the problem of an equally divided Appellate Committee. Kennedy v Spratt [1971] 2 WLR 667 remained on the docket and Lord Upjohn had already prepared a speech, intending to vote with Lord Reid and Lord Diplock, dismissing the appeal. Lord Reid read Lord Upjohn's speech as a part of his own and in accordance with the presumption in favour of the status quo (semper pracsumitur pro negante), the appeal was dismissed. It has been pointed out that, 'had Lord Upjohn been in favour of allowing the appeal, the application of the principle would have produced a disgruntled appellant whose victory had been snatched from under his nose: it may well be that such manifest injustice would have led to the case being reargued before a reconstituted court.'[2]

Notable Cases[edit]

As Counsel[edit]

Eaves v.Eaves [1939] Ch. 1000

Re Diplock [1948] Ch. 465

Ministry of Health v Simpson [1951] A.C. 251

As Upjohn J[edit]

Copeland v Greenhalf [1952] Ch 488

Thompson (WL) Ltd v Robinson (Gunmakers) Ltd, [1955] Ch 177

Merricks v. Heathcote Amory [1955] Ch. 567

In the Court of Appeal[edit]

In the Privy Council[edit]

Paradise Beach and Transportation Co Ltd v Price-Robinson [1968] AC 1072

In the House of Lords[edit]

Practice Statement (Judicial Precedent) [1966] 1 WLR 1234

Suisse Atlantique Societe d'Armament SA v NV Rotterdamsche Kolen Centrale [1967] 1 A.C. 361

Boardman v Phipps [1967] 2 AC 46

Vandervell v IRC [1967] 2 AC 291

Beswick v Beswick [1968] AC 58

C Czarnikow Ltd v Koufos or The Heron II [1969] 1 AC 350

In re Gulbenkian's Settlements [1970] AC 508

Pettitt v. Pettitt [1970] A.C. 777

Redland Bricks Ltd. v. Morris [1970] A.C. 652


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ L. J. Blom-Cooper and Gavin Drewry, The Use of Full Courts in the Appellate Process, 34(4) MLR 364, 365-366.