Lawrence Collins, Baron Collins of Mapesbury

Lawrence Antony Collins, Baron Collins of Mapesbury, PC, FBA (born 7 May 1941), is a British judge and former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He was also appointed to the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong on 11 April 2011 as a non-permanent judge from other common law jurisdictions.[1] He was formerly a partner in the British law firm Herbert Smith. He is now a member of Essex Court Chambers and an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU School of Law.

The Lord Collins of Mapesbury

Official portrait of Lord Collins of Mapesbury crop 2.jpg
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
In office
1 October 2009 – 7 May 2011
Nominated byJack Straw
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byLord Sumption
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
20 April 2009 – 30 September 2009
Preceded byThe Lord Hoffmann
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
High Court Judge
In office
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong
Assumed office
30 June 2011
Appointed byDonald Tsang
Personal details
Lawrence Antony Collins

(1941-05-07) 7 May 1941 (age 80)
Alma mater
Chinese name

Early lifeEdit

Collins was born on 7 May 1941 and educated at the City of London School, and then at Downing College, Cambridge, graduating with a starred first in Law. He received an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School in New York City and was admitted as a solicitor in 1968, becoming a partner at Herbert Smith in 1971 until his appointment as a judge in 2000. He served as head of the Litigation and Arbitration Department at Herbert Smith from 1995 to 1998. He and Arthur Marriott were the two first practising solicitors ever to be appointed Queen's Counsel, on 27 March 1997. As a solicitor-advocate, he appeared before the English Court of Appeal, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, and the European Court of Justice. He acted for the Government of Chile in the case to extradite General Pinochet. He has one daughter, Hannah, and one son, Aaron.


In 1997, he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge, becoming a full-time Judge in the Chancery Division on 28 September 2000, at which time he left Herbert Smith. He was the first solicitor to be appointed as a judge of the High Court direct from private practice, and only the second solicitor to be appointed, after Sir Michael Sachs in 1993, who had previously sat as a circuit judge for nine years.[2][3] In a landmark case in 2006, he required file sharers who had refused to settle with the British Phonographic Industry to pay damages running into thousands of pounds.[4]

His appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal (judge of the Court of Appeal) was announced on 11 January 2007, and he was sworn to the Privy Council a month later.[5] On 8 April 2009, it was announced that he would replace Lord Hoffmann (who retired on 20 April 2009) as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.[6] He is the first solicitor to be appointed to these senior levels of the judiciary.[7] Accordingly, on 21 April 2009, he was created Baron Collins of Mapesbury, of Hampstead Town in the London Borough of Camden,[8] and was introduced in the House of Lords on 28 April 2009. On 1 October 2009, he and nine other Lords of Appeal became Justices of the Supreme Court upon that body's inauguration.

He has been a fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, since 1975, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1994. He is a member of the Institut de droit international. He has been the general editor of Dicey & Morris, the standard reference work on conflict of laws, since 1987, and it was retitled Dicey, Morris and Collins in its 14th edition, published in 2006.[9] He is also the author of many other books and articles on private international law. He became a bencher of the Inner Temple in 2001.

Collins reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 on 7 May 2011 but stayed on as an acting justice until July.[10] He has continued membership of the House of Lords, and sits as a crossbencher.

Significant judgmentsEdit


  1. ^ "Cheung named next chief of High Court", The Standard, 12 April 2011. Archived 15 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Dyer, Clare (21 February 2000). "Pinochet lawyer to become judge". The Observer.
  3. ^ "Bench pressing". The Lawyer. 2 October 2000. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Court rules against song-swappers", BBC News, 27 January 2006.
  5. ^ "Privy Council Appointment of Sir Lawrence". 10 Downing Street. 2 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  6. ^ "New Law Lords announced". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Appointment of Justice of Appeal". 10 Downing Street. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  8. ^ "No. 59045". The London Gazette. 24 April 2009. p. 7037.
  9. ^ Publication: Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws,, 14 October 2006.
  10. ^ "Former Justices". Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 March 2014.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong
Order of precedence
Preceded by
The Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal
Succeeded by
The Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal