Robert Walker was born on 17 March 1938, the son of Ronald Robert Antony and Mary Helen Walker. Educated at Downside School in Somerset, he later went on to study Law and Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a first class degree in 1959. In 2006 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the College.

Lord Walker was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1960, progressing to the Queen’s Counsel in 1982. He acted as a High Court Judge from 1994, quickly becoming a Chancery law specialist, where he was noted as “a judge of first instance in the Chancery Division.” By 1997, he had been appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal, winning the post over 10 more senior judges to become one of the fastest ever judges to be promoted to the court.  By this time he had developed a reputation for the “logical and rigorously intellectual” style of his judgments.

Lord Walker was made Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in October 2002, when he received a life peerage and the title of Baron Walker of Gestingthorpe, County of Essex.  He succeeded Lord Slynn of Hadley to the post.  On 1 October 2009 he was invested as a Justice of the Supreme Court alongside nine other Lords of Appeal in Ordinary. In addition to his position in the Supreme Court, he currently also serves as treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn and has recently been made a Doctor of Laws, graduating from London Metropolitan University in 2008.

Throughout his career, Lord Walker has been known for his individual judgment, frequently emerging as a dissenting voice in a variety of unusual cases. In Carnduff v Rock [2001], he for example held out against Lord Justices Parker and Laws that a former police informer should be allowed to appeal against the Metropolitan Police for their failure to pay for his services. Again in 2004, he was the only one out of nine Law Lords to oppose an appeal against imprisonment without trial under anti-terror legislation, arguing that the laws provided, “important safeguards against oppression” and should be maintained. In 2001 he adjudicated alongside Lord Justices Ward and Brooke in the final appeal of the controversial Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation), in which he judged on the grounds of intent, that the  conjoined twins Jodie and Mary should be separated in order to preserve the life of Jodie, whilst potentially sacrificing that of the weaker twin Mary. In the case of Douglas v Hello! in 2007, Lord Walker struck out against Lord Hoffman, Baroness Hale and Lord Brown to oppose the judgment that  Hello! was liable for breach of confidence to rival magazine Ok! in publishing unauthorised photographs of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ wedding to Michael Douglas.

Aside from his judicial career, Lord Walker has been married to Suzanne Diana Leggi since 1962 and has three daughters and one son. In his youth he was a keen sportsman, enjoying running, riding and cross-country skiing and completing the 1986 London Marathon in a personal best time of 2 hours and 57 minutes; only 47 minutes slower than that year’s winner, Toshihiko Seko. Celebrating his 72nd birthday this year, Lord Walker currently enjoys more leisurely pursuits, being a keen walker and gardener in his spare time.