Gordon Slynn, Baron Slynn of Hadley

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The Lord Slynn of Hadley

Lord Slynn of Hadley 2008.jpg
Second Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
6 June 2000 – 30 September 2002
Preceded byThe Lord Goff of Chieveley
Succeeded byThe Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
11 March 1992 – 30 September 2002
Nominated byJohn Major
Appointed byElizabeth II
Preceded byThe Lord Bridge of Harwich
Succeeded byThe Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
Judge of the European Court of Justice
In office
Preceded byLord Mackenzie-Stuart
Succeeded bySir David Edward
Advocate General of the European Court of Justice
In office
Preceded byJean-Pierre Warner
Succeeded bySir Francis Jacobs
Personal details
Gordon Slynn

(1930-02-17)17 February 1930
Died7 April 2009(2009-04-07) (aged 79)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Spouse(s)Odile Marie Henriette Boutin
Alma materGoldsmiths, University of London;
Trinity College, Cambridge

Gordon Slynn, Baron Slynn of Hadley GBE PC (17 February 1930 – 7 April 2009) was a British jurist specialising in European and International Law, and a former judge of the European Court of Justice and Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

Early life[edit]

Slynn was born on 17 February 1930 to John and Edith Slynn and educated at Sandbach School, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1956, becoming a Bencher in 1970 and Treasurer in 1988. He served as Junior Counsel to the Ministry of Labour between 1967 and 1968. He was the First Junior Treasury Counsel (Common Law), or "Treasury Devil", from 1968 to 1974.

Lord Denning said about Slynn in his capacity as such: "He was outstanding. The best I have ever known. He will go far."[1] His successful application to take silk in 1974 coincided with his becoming the first Leading Counsel to the Treasury.


He married Odile Marie Henriette Boutin in 1962.

Judicial career[edit]

He was appointed Recorder of Hereford in 1971 and as a judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court in 1976, receiving the customary knighthood,[2] serving additionally as President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 1978. In 1981, he left both these positions to become an Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and was appointed a Judge in 1988, a position he held until 1992.

He was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary on 11 March 1992, becoming a life peer as Baron Slynn of Hadley, of Eggington in the County of Bedfordshire,[3] and being sworn of the Privy Council. He was a dissenter in the case R v. Brown, which upheld the legality of the criminal convictions resulting from Operation Spanner.[4] As a member of the House of Lords, he served as Chairman of the House of Lords Select Sub-Committee on European Law and Institutions (1992–95), and as a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service (1996–98) and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corruption Bill (2003). He retired as a Law Lord in 2002.

He was appointed President of the Court of Appeal of the Solomon Islands in 2001[5] and was life President of the Lord Slynn of Hadley European Law Foundation and President of the Civil Mediation Council. From 1992-1996 he was President of The Academy of Experts

GBE breast star


Slynn received honorary degrees from numerous institutions, and was Visitor of Mansfield College, Oxford from 1995–2002 and of the University of Essex from 1995–2000. He was Chief Steward of Hereford between 1978–2008 and received the Freedom of the City in 1996, and was President of the Bentham Club in 1992 and of the Holdsworth Club in 1993. He was knighted in 1976. He was made a Knight of the Order of St John in 1998, having received the Order of St John in 1992, and received the Grande Croix de l'Ordre de Mérite (Luxembourg) in 1998; appointed a Knight Cross, Order of Merit (Poland) in 1999; Grand Cross, Order of Merit (Malta) in 2001; Officer's Cross, Order of Merit (Hungary) in 2002; and the Cross of Solomon Islands in 2007. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for his services to the International Law Association which he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee.[6] In 2000 he was presented with a 2-volume Liber Amicorum: Vol I, entitled Judicial Review in European Union Law, was edited by Professor David O'Keeffe and Antonio Bavasso; Vol 2, entitled Judicial Review in International Perspective, was edited by Mads Andenas and Duncan Fairgrieve; both volumes were published by Kluwer Law International (ISBN 90-411 1373-8 (set)).


Slynn was a supporter of legal education. He wrote a foreword to the book, How to Moot: a Student Guide to Mooting[7] and sat as a judge in the Central and East European Moot Court.[8] He was Honorary President of the Durham Mooting Society and an honorary member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society at the University of Virginia. He was a patron of Staffordshire University's Law School.

Charitable work[edit]

Slynn was Patron of the UK wing of the Child in Need Institute (CINI) (CINI UK), founded by his wife Odile Slynn to help poor mothers and children in India.

He was a Trustee of The Loomba Trust, which cares for widows around the world, and Patron of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Institute for Indian art and culture.

Slynn led a campaign to remove People's Mujahedin of Iran from the British and EU's blacklists.[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The Due Process of Law, Lord Denning (London, 1980) p12
  2. ^ "No. 46974". The London Gazette. 27 July 1976. p. 10281.
  3. ^ "No. 52861". The London Gazette. 13 March 1992. p. 4553.
  4. ^ R v Brown (1993) 2 All ER 75 House of Lords
  5. ^ Susan Boyd (2003), "Australian judges at work internationally", Australian Law Journal, vol. 77, p. 303 at 305.
  6. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 24.
  7. ^ Snape, John; Watt, Gary. How to Moot: a Student Guide to Mooting. Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ Central and East European Moot Court
  9. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/law-obituaries/5127036/Lord-Slynn-of-Hadley.html