Lord Brown of Eaton-Underneath-Heywood obituary


Centuries of widespread legislation precedents had been overturned by Simon Brown in 1990 when, as a excessive courtroom decide, he dominated {that a} husband may very well be discovered responsible of raping his spouse. His choice that “there isn’t a marital exemption to the legislation of rape” was upheld by the upper courts and confirmed within the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Till then, the 250-year-old precept {that a} husband can’t be responsible of raping his spouse “on account of the matrimonial consent which she has given, and which she can’t retract” was accepted within the courts.

Brown, who has died aged 86 of most cancers, later instructed the Home of Lords: “I’ve few boasts to my title by the use of authorized achievement, few jewels in my judicial crown, however I can … boast of being the primary decide on this jurisdiction … to rule {that a} husband shouldn’t be permitted in legislation to have intercourse together with his spouse fairly merely at any time when he chooses.”

Famend for his finely written judgments and entertaining memoirs, Brown, who went on to turn out to be a supreme courtroom justice, was liberal in his sympathies, and likewise made a long-lasting affect on immigration legislation. In a 1996 judgment he struck down secondary authorities laws that disadvantaged asylum seekers of assist in the event that they failed to say asylum on arrival.

Brown concluded that: “Parliament can’t have meant a major variety of real asylum seekers to be impaled on the horns of so insupportable a dilemma: the necessity both to desert their claims to refugee standing or alternatively to keep up them as finest they will however in a state of utter destitution.”

Three years later, in one other landmark ruling, he held that refugees wouldn’t have to say asylum within the nations by way of which they move to achieve security with a view to be shielded from prosecution, saying that “some aspect of alternative” ought to be open to them.

Born in Sheffield, Simon was the son of middle-class Jewish mother and father, Edna (nee Abrahams) and Denis Brown, who ran their very own jewelry enterprise. On leaving Stowe faculty in Buckinghamshire, he undertook nationwide service within the Royal Artillery, the place his army exploits included driving his automobile off the street after a pub crawl earlier than returning to barracks to drink champagne. “Many a driver, 30 years later, I used to be to condemn to prolonged jail phrases for much less,” he remarked in his memoirs. Having been commissioned as a second lieutenant, he was despatched to suppress disturbances in Cyprus.

At Worcester Faculty, Oxford, he initially learn historical past earlier than switching to legislation. Throughout holidays he variously hitchhiked to Naples, labored as a tour information for rich People and swam the Bosphorus.

He was known as to the bar in 1961 and shared rooms with Sir William Macpherson. As a younger barrister he appeared in civil and prison instances. In 1979, Brown was appointed as Treasury Satan – the lawyer who represents authorities departments in civil courts. 5 years later he turned a excessive courtroom decide and in 1992 moved as much as the courtroom of enchantment.

He heard Robert Maxwell’s libel motion towards Personal Eye and reversed the jury’s verdict over alleged match-fixing involving the goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar. In 1995, in what turned often known as the “gays within the army case”, he opened his judgment: “Lawrence of Arabia wouldn’t be welcome in as we speak’s armed forces; gay women and men aren’t permitted to serve.” Though legally obliged to uphold the ban, he made it clear that he believed its days had been numbered.

Between 1989 and 2006, Brown was president of the safety service tribunal and the intelligence providers tribunal, and was additionally intelligence providers commissioner, investigating complaints towards the safety businesses and reviewing surveillance warrants. Round 99% of complaints he discovered to be baseless, prompting the commentary that “paranoia is surprisingly widespread”.

He turned a legislation lord in 2004 and a supreme courtroom justice, when the brand new courtroom was created, in 2009. Brown retired in 2012 however remained an lively crossbench peer within the Home of Lords as Lord Brown of Eaton-Underneath-Heywood. There he known as for an finish to the imprisonment for public safety regime that left inmates stranded on indefinite sentences, labelling it “the best single stain on our prison justice system”.

His two memoirs, Enjoying Off the Roof and Different Tales (2020) and Second Helpings (2023), had been written on a cell phone, revealing his love of golf, gossip and good firm. His anecdotes, usually instructed towards himself, included tales of judges falling asleep in scorching, airless courts, and of the time his personal father got here to look at him however ended up loud night breathing on the general public benches.

Final 12 months Brown opposed the nationality and borders invoice, the cornerstone of the federal government’s new plan for immigration, over non-compliance with worldwide legislation, declaring: “There aren’t many points that it’s value going to the stake for, however absolutely the rule of legislation is one. I’ve spent 60 years of my life on it and don’t suggest to cease right here.”

At Oxford he met Jennifer Buddicom, they usually married in 1963. She survives him, as do their two sons, Ben and Daniel, a daughter, Abigail, and 5 grandchildren.


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