Hamlyn Lectures

The Hamlyn Lectures are a series of public lectures in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland given annually on a legal topic. The lectures have been given every year since 1949.


The Hamlyn Trust was established in 1948 by the will of Miss Emma Hamlyn in memory of her father, a solicitor and JP in Torquay. The trust was to further

among the Common People of this Country of the knowledge of the Comparative Jurisprudence and the Ethnology of the Chief European countries including our own and the circumstances of the growth of such Jurisprudence to the intent that the Common People of our Country may realise the privileges which in law and custom they enjoy in comparison with other European Peoples and realising and appreciating such privileges may recognize the responsibilities and obligations attaching to them.[1]

Initially there was doubt as to whether the trust was valid, but the High Court approved a scheme for the administration of the trust in 1948, which followed closely the wording of the will.

List of Hamlyn LecturesEdit

Year Lecturer Title
1949 Sir Alfred Denning Freedom Under the Law
1950 Richard O'Sullivan The Inheritance of the Common Law
1951 F. H. Lawson The Rational Strength of English Law
1952 A. L. Goodhart English Law and the Moral Law
1953 Sir Carleton Kemp Allen The Queen's Peace
1954 C. J. Hamson Executive Discretion and Judicial Control: An Aspect of the French Conseil d'Etat
1955 Glanville Williams The Proof of Guilt: A Study of the English Criminal Trial
1956 Sir Patrick Devlin Trial by Jury
1957 Lord MacDermott Protection from Power under English Law
1958 Sir David Hughes Parry The Sanctity of Contracts in English Law
1959 C. H. S. Fifoot Judge and Jurist in the Reign of Victoria
1960 M. C. Setalvad The Common Law in India
1961 T. B. Smith British Justice: The Scottish Contribution
1962 R. E. Megarry Lawyer and Litigant in England
1963 Baroness Wootton of Abinger Crime and the Criminal Law: Reflections of a Magistrate and Social Scientist
1964 Erwin N. Griswold Law and Lawyers in the United States: The Common Law Under Stress
1965 Lord Tangley New Law for a New World?
1966 Lord Kilbrandon Other People's Law
1967 O. D. Schreiner The Contribution of English Law to South African Law; and the Rule of Law in South Africa
1968 Harry Street Justice in the Welfare State
1969 Bora Laskin The British Tradition in Canadian Law
1970 Henry Cecil The English Judge
1971 Rupert Cross Punishment, Prison and the Public: An Assessment of Penal Reform in Twentieth Century England by an Armchair Penologist
1972 Otto Kahn-Freund Labour and the Law
1973 K. C. Wheare Maladministration and its Remedies
1974 Sir Leslie Scarman English Law—The New Dimension
1975 Sir Desmond Heap The Land and the Development; or, the Turmoil and the Torment
1976 Sir Robert Micklethwait The National Insurance Commissioners
1977 Lord Mackenzie Stuart The European Communities and the Rule of Law
1978 Sir Norman Anderson Liberty, Law and Justice
1979 O. R. McGregor Social History and Law Reform
1980 H. W. R. Wade Constitutional Fundamentals
1981 Hubert Monroe Intolerable Inquisition? Reflections on the Law of Tax
1982 Tony Honoré The Quest for Security: Employees, Tenants, Wives
1983 Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone Hamlyn Revisited: The British Legal System Today
1984 Sir Gordon Borrie The Development of Consumer Law and Policy—Bold Spirits and Timorous Souls
1985 Ralf Dahrendorf Law and Order
1986 Sir Jack I. H. Jacob The Fabric of English Civil Justice
1987 P. S. Atiyah Pragmatism and Theory in English Law
1988 J. C. Smith Justification and Excuse in the Criminal Law
1989 Sir Harry Woolf Protection of the Public—A New Challenge
1990 Claire Palley The United Kingdom and Human Rights
1991 Sir Gordon Slynn Introducing a European Legal Order
1992 Richard Abel Speech and Respect
1993 Lord Mackay of Clashfern The Administration of Justice
1994 William Twining Blackstone's Tower: The English Law School
1995 Dame Brenda Hale From the Tube to the Coffin: Choice and Regulation in Private Life
1996 Lord Cooke of Thorndon Turning Points of the Common Law
1997 Roy Goode Commercial Law in the Next Millennium
1998 Sir Stephen Sedley Freedom, Law and Justice
1999 Michael Zander The State of Justice
2000 Anthony King Does the United Kingdom Still Have a Constitution?
2001 Andrew Ashworth Human Rights, Serious Crime and Criminal Procedure
2002 Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws Legal Conundrums in our Brave New World
2003 Michael Kirby Judicial Activism: Authority, Principle and Policy in the Judicial Method
2004 Sir Bob Hepple Rights at Work: Global, European and British Perspectives
2005 Conor Gearty Can Human Rights Survive?
2006 Sir Francis Jacobs The Sovereignty of Law: The European Way
2007 Nicola Lacey The Prisoners' Dilemma: Political Economy and Punishment in Contemporary Democracies
2008 Dame Hazel Genn Judging Civil Justice
2009 Lord Bingham of Cornhill Widening Horizons: The Influence of Comparative Law and International Law on Domestic Law
2010 Alan Paterson Lawyers and the Public Good: Democracy in Action?
2011 Jeremy Waldron The Rule of Law and the Measure of Property
2012 Jack Straw Aspects of Law Reform: An Insider's Perspective
2013 Sir John Laws The Common Law Constitution
2014 Paul Craig UK, EU and Global Administrative Law: Foundations and Challenges
2015 Michael Freeman A Magna Carta for Children? Rethinking Children's Rights
2016 Dame Sian Elias Golden Threads and Pragmatic Patches: Fairness in Criminal Justice
2017 Andrew Burrows Thinking about Statutes: Interpretation, Interaction, Improvement
2018 Robin Allen QC Golden Threads and Pragmatic Patches: Fairness in Criminal Justice
2019 Professor Sir John Baker English Law under two Elizabeths


  1. ^ Stebbings, Chantal. "The Hamlyn Legacy" (PDF).