Lord Goff of Chieveley, and his influence on Bermuda

The Daily Telegraph has recently reported, in its Obituary column, the passing of Lord Goff of Chieveley, on 14 August 2016, at the age of 89. Lord Goff had been the UK’s Senior Law Lord between 1996 and 1998, having first been appointed a Law Lord (and a member of the Privy Council, Bermuda’s final court of appeal) in 1986.

During his time as a Law Lord, Lord Goff was involved in deciding a number of influential and important cases, including Spycatcher, the Lloyd’s negligence litigation (Henderson v Merrett), the Hillsborough disaster appeals, the Pinochet extradition case.

He was also one of the original co-authors of the leading textbook on restitution and unjust enrichment, now in its 5th edition and much cited in the law reports and by other textbooks and academics.

For the full Obituary, see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/08/18/lord-goff-of-chieveley-senior-law-lord–obituary/

The Daily Telegraph does not report on Lord Goff’s influence or contribution to the law and legal system of Bermuda in particular. But it is worthwhile to note that, amongst other things:

  • Lord Goff founded and was the first chairman of the Pegasus Scholarship Trust in 1987, thereby enabling generations of Pegasus Scholars from the London Bar to experience life and legal practice in Bermuda and other international jurisdictions. See https://www.cambridgetrust.org/partners/pegasus-trust and https://www.innertemple.org.uk/pegasustrust
  • Lord Goff gave one of the leading speeches in Bank of Nova Scotia v Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Limited [1992] 1 AC 233, addressing the status of a warranty and the effect of its breach (and finding against the Bermudian P&I club).
  • Lord Goff gave one of the leading, concurring speeches in Pan Atlantic Insurance Ltd v Pine Top Ltd [1995] 1 AC 501, the leading case on non-disclosure and misrepresentation in the context of insurance and reinsurance contracts (and much cited in Bermuda insurance disputes).

But Bermuda law, it should be noted, has not yet followed the House of Lords’, and Lord Goff’s, decision in Henderson v Merrett on the issue of concurrent liability in contract and tort (given a local Bermuda Court of Appeal to the contrary, following an earlier Privy Council decision). Perhaps, if and when it does (which will require a further appeal to the Privy Council), Lord Goff’s influence on Bermuda law will extend even further than it already does.

Other important judgments with which Lord Goff was involved are listed in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Goff,_Baron_Goff_of_Chieveley







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