The Judicial Individuality of Lord Sumption

36 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2017 Last revised: 7 Aug 2017

See all articles by James Lee

James Lee

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Date Written: May 31, 2017


This article scrutinises the role of the individual judge on the United Kingdom Supreme Court through an analysis of the jurisprudence of Lord Sumption JSC. The examination of the Court’s recent decisions demonstrates that his Lordship is a leading figure on the Supreme Court. It is argued that key cases and extra-curial speeches mark Lord Sumption as a proponent of judicial conservatism, and two 2016 case studies from private law are used to develop this thesis: Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42 on the defense of illegality and Willers v Joyce (No 1) [2016] UKSC 43 on the tort of malicious prosecution. The article concludes that the study has broader implications for the dynamics of judging, both individually and collectively, in a court of final appeal.

Keywords: Judges, Judicial Studies, Jurisprudence, Tort, Illegality, Judicial Biography, Courts, Supreme Courts, United Kingdom Supreme Court

Suggested Citation

Lee, James, The Judicial Individuality of Lord Sumption (May 31, 2017). University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2, 2017, King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2017-33, Available at SSRN:

James Lee (Contact Author)

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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