John Brightman, Baron Brightman

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John Anson Brightman, Baron Brightman, QC (20 June 1911 – 6 February 2006) was an English Chancery barrister and judge, ultimately of the House of Lords.

Early life and career[edit]

Brightman was the son of a country solicitor. He was educated at Marlborough College and St John's College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1932.

During the Second World War, he was an able seaman in the Merchant Navy from 1939 to 1940, then joined the RNVR as a commissioned officer. By 1944, he had attended the Royal Naval staff course at Greenwich and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander to become assistant naval attaché in Ankara. He returned to the Bar in 1946, practising mainly in tax law, taking silk in 1961, and was pupil master to Margaret Thatcher.

Judicial career[edit]

He was appointed a High Court judge in 1970 and assigned to the Chancery Division, also receiving the usual knighthood. In 1971, he joined John Donaldson, Baron Donaldson and Lord Thomson as the three judges of the National Industrial Relations Court (NIRC), set up by the government of Ted Heath to reign in the power of the trades unions.

In 1972, he decided that Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst need not pay income tax on bonuses and cash gifts received following the victory of the England football team in the 1966 World Cup.

In 1974, while still a High Court judge, he refused Anton Piller KG the court order that it requested to search the premises of a defendant to prevent the defendant from destroying potential evidence. He was overruled by Lord Denning's Court of Appeal, giving rise to the Anton Piller order that remains in use today.

Like his colleague on the NIRC, John Donaldson, Brightman had to wait until shortly after Thatcher won the 1979 general election in 1979 to be appointed as Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal. Brightman became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and life peer, sitting in the House of Lords as Baron Brightman, of Ibthorpe in the County of Southampton, from 12 March 1982, the same year that Donaldson was promoted to become Master of the Rolls.

One of Brightman's first judgments, in 1983, was to decide that Ann Mallalieu (now Baroness Mallalieu) was not entitled to a tax deduction for the cost of her court dress.

He also ruled against the taxpayer in the case of Furniss v. Dawson; upheld the manslaughter verdict in R v Hancock and Shankland, the case of a taxi driver killed during the 1984 miners' strike, modifying the test of intent required for a conviction of murder; and joined the judgment that refused to grant the government an order banning on newspaper articles about Spycatcher.

Personal life[edit]

He married Roxane Ambatielo in 1945 and had one son.