The Rt. Hon. the Lord Woolf
Lord Woolf was called to the Bar in 1955 and from 1973-74 was junior counsel, Inland Revenue. During this time he represented the Revenue in the majority of their leading cases before the High Court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.
In 1974 Lord Woolf was appointed first Treasury Counsel (Common Law) a post which he held for five years. During this time he appeared in a great many of the most important cases of the period on behalf of the Government. In addition he acted as an amicus curiae where the courts required assistance for difficult points of law or policy.
Lord Woolf was appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in 1979, as Lord Justice of Appeal in 1986 and a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 1992. Between 1996 and 2000 he held the position of Master of the Rolls and in 2000 was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales a position from which he retired in September 2005.
In 2003, Lord Woolf was appointed a non permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong, acting as the overseas judge in that Court, an appointment which he continues to hold.
Lord Woolf is president of the Civil and Commercial Court for Qatar.
He was named in The Times Law 100 2009 listing the most influential lawyers in Britain. Lord Woolf of Barnes “may have retired as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 2005 but he has not slowed down”.
In September 2011 Lord Woolf lead an Inquiry on behalf of the International Cricket Council into the governance of Cricket, which was submitted to the ICC in January 2012.
In March 2011 the Council of the London School of Economics and Political Science asked Lord Woolf to conduct an independent external inquiry into the School's relationship with Libya. The Woolf Inquiry was published on 30 November 2011.
Between September and December 2005 Lord Woolf conducted a review of the working methods of the European Court of Human Rights, reporting in December 2005 to the President of the Court and the Director General of the Council of Europe.
In September 2005, Lord Woolf was appointed as the United Kingdom representative to the “Group of Wise Persons”, tasked with drawing up a comprehensive strategy to secure the long-term effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights and its control mechanism. The Group submitted an interim report in May 2006 to the 116th Session of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
Lord Woolf is the former Chairman of the Bank of England’s Financial Market’s Law Committee.
Mediation and ADR
Lord Woolf has had a very long standing interest in alternative dispute resolution and mediation. His report, Access to Justice, 1996 (“The Woolf Report”) was generally acknowledged to have been a catalyst for the development of ADR in England. Lord Woolf has lectured on the subject of ADR both in the United Kingdom and in many countries abroad. He also chaired the network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union’s Working Group on mediation.
Lord Woolf is a chartered arbitrator. He has also served as Special Adviser to CEDR and was Co-Chair of the Commission for Settlement in Arbitration and he was a member of CEDR’s Distinguished Panel of Third-Party Neutrals, a panel of CEDR’s most senior dispute resolution experts.
The International Academy of Mediators presented Lord Woolf with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual conference in September 2009.
Other relevant experience
- Lord Woolf is joint editor (with Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC) of the 6th edition of de Smith, Judicial Review of Administrative Action (2008).
- In 2008 Lord Woolf produced, Pursuit of Justice, a collection of his speeches, writings and lectures.
- He is author of the Woolf Committee Report ‘Business ethics, global companies and the defence Industry: Ethical business conduct in BAE Systems plc – the way forward’, published May 2008.
- He was editor with J. Woolf of the second edition of Declaratory Judgment in 1993.
- In 1990 Lord Woolf gave a Hamlyn Lecture entitled “Protecting the Public: The New Challenge”.
- Lord Woolf has written numerous articles for legal journals and is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world.
Lord Woolf has a broad range of interests which can be seen from his academic interests, for example as a member and Chairman of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and as Visitor, Deputy Chairman and (2005) Chairman of the Council of University College, London, where he is also a visiting Professor of Law. He was Pro Chancellor of London University and also holds an honorary LLD, DSc or DLit from twelve Universities including London, Oxford, Cambridge and Malaya.
Lord Woolf holds honorary degrees from twelve universities and is a Hon Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, UCL and the US College of Trial Lawyers and Hon Member of the American Law Institute.
Lord Woolf has served as a member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and was Chairman of the Sub Committee of Members’ Interests. He is also a supporter of prison reform and is patron of the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust and since 2011, Chairman of the Prison Reform Trust.
Lord Woolf is a Privy Counsellor.
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