The UKSC blog writes with great sadness of the death of Lord Toulson on the evening of Tuesday 27 June 2017.

Lord Toulson had been serving on the Supreme Court’s Supplementary Panel following his retirement as a full time Justice of the Court in September 2016. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Lord Toulson had been serving as a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal, and was also a member of both the Privy Council and the Judicial Appointments commission. Further details of his career can be found in the blog profile that was published upon his appointment to the Supreme Court in 2013.

Lord Neuberger offered his condolences to the Toulson family yesterday, writing of Lord Toulson:

Through his judgments and during hearings, Lord Toulson demonstrated a learned, deeply thoughtful and principled approach to resolving legal problems. These qualities ensure that his enormous contribution to the common law will always be remembered as disproportionate to the relatively short time for which he served upon the Supreme Court. And of course, he made great contributions to the law and to the administration of justice as a judge in the High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as a practising barrister before that.

He will never know the full extent of the impact that his considerate, thoughtful and encouraging nature had on the Court, the wider profession and the society we serve, but it is a legacy that we will all treasure long into the future.”

On his retirement from the Supreme Court last year, Lord Toulson met with the UKSC blog team to look back on his time on the bench. On his career, Lord Toulson cited Jogee [2016] UKSC 8, as the most memorable case of his tenure as it corrected “a wrong turn which caused really serious problems in the whole field of murder and joint enterprise for 30 years”. He also discussed his belief that the Law Commission (of which he was the chair between 2002 and 2006) can play a greater role in helping the development of the common law, and was keen to see greater engagement between the Law Commission and the Supreme Court.

More generally, Lord Toulson looked at the question of how far courts ought to intervene on government decisions, taking the view that “all human life is experimental, all forms of government are experimental. I think it would be a retrograde step if the courts, in the name of rights, prevent governments of whichever hue from engaging in legitimate social experimentation.”

Lord Toulson was a hugely influential man and, as Neuberger wrote yesterday, “He was a truly valued colleague, a man of honour, modesty and integrity who will be deeply missed by all with whom he worked.”

Lord Toulson, 23 September 1946 – 27 June 2017.