Roger Toulson, Lord Toulson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
Lord Toulson
Lord Toulson 2014.png
Toulson in 2014
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
In office
9 April 2013 – 22 September 2016
Preceded by The Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
Succeeded by TBD
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
29 January 2007 – 9 April 2013
Personal details
Born Roger Grenfell Toulson
(1946-09-23)23 September 1946
Died 27 June 2017(2017-06-27) (aged 70)
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Occupation Judge

Roger Grenfell Toulson, Lord Toulson (23 September 1946 – 27 June 2017) was a British lawyer and judge who served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.[1]


He was educated at Mill Hill School, to which he won the top scholarship for his year and was one of the most talented pupils, taking 'O' levels at 13, 'A' levels in Greek, Latin and Ancient History at 15, and breaking the school record for the mile at 16, at which age he left to go to Jesus College, Cambridge, of which he later became an Honorary Fellow,[2] before being called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1969.


He joined the Western Circuit in 1970, and became a Queen's Counsel in 1986. In 1996 he became a judge of the High Court of Justice, sitting in the Queen's Bench Division, and from 2002 to 2006 sat as Chairman of the Law Commission of England and Wales. On 29 January 2007,[3] he was promoted to the Court of Appeal, made a member of the Privy Council and appointed to the Judicial Appointments Commission.[4]

Toulson was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on 9 April 2013. By Royal Warrant, all members of the Supreme Court, even if they do not hold a peerage, are entitled to the judicial style and title "Lord" for life.[5][6]. Toulson was granted the courtesy style Lord Toulson. He retired from the court on 22 September 2016.

Toulson was the co-author of a textbook on the English law of confidentiality.[7]

As a judge Toulson was opposed to judicial interference in Government action. He expressed the view that "all human life is experimental, all forms of government are experimental. I think it would be a retrograde step if the courts, in the name of rights, prevent governments of whichever hue from engaging in legitimate social experimentation."[8]

He died on 27 June 2017 at the age of 70, while in hospital for heart surgery.[9]

Notable judicial decisions[edit]

Lord Toulson was involved in a number of notable decisions during his time as a judge. He referred to his judgment in R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8 as the most memorable.[8]

Other notable judicial decisions of Lord Toulson included:

Lord Toulson also gave the sole dissenting judgment in PJS v News Group Newspapers [2016] UKSC 26, a dissent of particular note, given his special interest in the law of confidentiality. He expressed the view that certain information about the private life of a celebrity had become so widely available that it could no longer be sensibly protected by injunctive relief, observing, "The court must live in the world as it is and not as it would like it to be."


  1. ^ Supreme Court news release, 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ Jesus College, Cambridge, List of Honorary Fellows (accessed on 1 October 2010)
  3. ^ "No. 58235". The London Gazette. 1 February 2007. p. 1417. 
  4. ^ "Honorary Graduates - University of Bradford". University of Bradford. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Courtesy titles for Justices of the Supreme Court" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "No. 59746". The London Gazette. 1 April 2011. pp. 6177–6178. 
  7. ^ R.G.Toulson & C.M.Phipps, Confidentiality, 3rd edition, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2012
  8. ^ a b "Obituary: Lord Toulson". UKSC Blog. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Senior judge Lord Toulson dies during heart operation". The Times. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017. (Subscription required (help)).