Introduction: In Honor of Gordon Slynn, U.K. Law Lord and Judge of the EC Court of Justice
1336 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL [Vol. 33:1335
Fordham International Law Journal
Copyright c 2011 by the authors. Fordham International Law Journal is produced by The
Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress). http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj
Roger J. Goebel
This symposium issue and the next issue of the Fordham International Law Journal are
dedicated to the memory of Gordon Slynn, 1930–2009, a distinguished jurist, accomplished barrister,
and a renowned expert in European Union and international law.
IN HONOR OF GORDON SLYNN,
U.K. LAW LORD AND JUDGE OF THE EC COURT
This symposium issue and the next issue of the Fordham
International Law Journal are dedicated to the memory of
Gordon Slynn, 1930–2009, a distinguished jurist, accomplished
barrister, and a renowned expert in European Union and
international law. In view of his frequent visits to Fordham Law
School as guest teacher and lecturer, it is highly appropriate that
the Journal should assemble this symposium in his honor.
Gordon Slynn, who took the designation of Lord Slynn of
Hadley when named to the House of Lords in 1992, had a truly
extraordinary career. After law studies at Trinity College,
Cambridge, he was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn in 1956. His
analytic ability in complex commercial matters and vigorous
courtroom style soon led to government posts, first with the
Ministry of Labor and subsequently in 1968 as lead counsel for
the Treasury Department.
Married in 1962 to Odile Boutin, their marriage has always
been marked by their common dedication to charitable
organizations, notably the Child in Need Institute, which she
founded. Odile Slynn has also pursued her own career as a
teacher of French language and literature.
Gordon Slynn’s judicial career began as Judge in the High
Court in 1976, the same year in which he was knighted, soon
moving to become President of the Employment Appeal
Tribunal in 1978. When the United Kingdom’s first Advocate
General, Jean Pierre Warner, retired in 1981, Sir Gordon Slynn
became Advocate General at the European Community (“EC”)
Court of Justice in Luxembourg. He soon became known for the
rapidity and acumen of his opinions, acquiring the nick-name,
“juriste de grande vitesse,” among the Court law clerks. The
Telegraph’s obituary called him “particularly influential in
importing [to the Court] English common law principles of
procedural fairness.”1 Professor Rosa Greaves’ article in the
symposium, “Selected Opinions of Lord Slynn as Advocate
General,”2 demonstrates his influence in the highly technical
field of competition law.
In 1988, upon the retirement of Lord Mackenzie Stuart, the
U.K. government named Sir Gordon Slynn as a Judge on the EC
Court of Justice. Subsequently, in the fall of 2002, the
government named him a Law Lord of Appeal in the House of
Lords, serving until his retirement in 2002. As Law Lord, he often
applied his expertise in European Union law in cases involving
the interpretation or application of the Treaty or secondary
legislation. Both as part of the majority and in dissent, his
opinions were characterized by his solid analysis and vigorous
statement of views. After retiring as Law Lord, he continued
serving in the Privy Council. He even assumed in 2001 a new post
as President of the Court of Appeal of the Solomon Islands,
devoting two weeks each year to that function.
Throughout his career, Gordon Slynn was notably active in
promoting the study of European Union and international law.
He served as Chairman of the International law Association from
1988 to his death and was also active in the Union Internationale
des Avocats. He lectured frequently at law schools, coming
several times to Fordham, and spoke often, eloquently and with
great wit, at legal conferences. Indeed, he was teaching as a guest
lecturer at Fordham in 1992 when notified that the U.K.
government was naming him to the House of Lords. He was
greatly interested in promoting knowledge of EU law in the
Central European states as they prepared for membership in
2004, creating a foundation for this purpose and lecturing
himself to judicial and academic conferences throughout Central
Europe. Gordon Slynn particularly loved spending time with
students in and outside of classes.
His many friends (and the present author would like to
consider himself one of them) can pay tribute to his great
personal charm and warmth. Professor Laurence Gormley’s
obituary in the European Law Review, says it well:
1. Obituary of Lord Slynn of Hadley, DAILY TELEGRAPH (London), Apr. 8, 2009, at
2. See infra at 1523.
IN HONOR OF GORDON SLYNN
Gordon Slynn will be remembered as a truly great Advocate
General and judge, probably the most widely-known British
judge since Lord Denning, but also as a humane, kind,
generous and most agreeable companion; he was also a bon
vivant with a connoisseur’s subtle appreciation of fine art and
fine wine. He was superb company and a generous host; his
asides often had me and other in stitches, and all his friends
will miss his disarming wink and infectious smile and
We are honored to include in the symposium articles by
Chief Justice John Murray of the Supreme Court of Ireland, and
Judges Koen Lenaerts and Konrad Schiemann of the EC Court of
Justice. Chief Justice Murray served on the Court of Justice
during part of Gordon Slynn’s tenure there, and Judge Lenaerts
was a judge in the Court of First Instance at the same time, while
Judge Schiemann is his current successor as the U.K. judge at the
Court of Justice. Some of the other symposium authors were
personal friends of Gordon Slynn, but all knew and admired him.
Their articles span an extraordinary variety of topics in EU law,
an appropriate tribute to his versatility.
Professor Roger J. Goebel
Alpin J. Cameron Professor
3. Laurence Gormley , Obituary: Gordon Slynn ( 1930 -2009), 34 EUR. L. REV. 347 , 348 ( 2009 ).