Law lecture: “Presidents and Power: Change and the UK Supreme Court”


Magdalen Auditorium

Event type

Alumni, College, University


14 October 2022



The talk “Presidents and Power: Change and the UK Supreme Court” from Professor Alan Paterson, Emeritus Professor of Law at Strathclyde University was held on Friday 14th October in the Magdalen College Auditorium. The talk was introduced by Magdalen President Dinah Rose QC and followed with a Q&A, which was chaired by the Right Honourable Lord Briggs of Westbourne, JSC (1973).

Professor Paterson is the author of the prize-winning Final Judgment: The Last Law Lords and the Supreme Court (2013), which gave unparalleled insight into the decision-making processes of the Supreme Court, with the benefit of the remarkably frank interviews he conducted with Justices of the Court. 

When the House of Lords morphed into the Supreme Court, many jurists said little would change, whilst others thought the reverse. Who was right? Did the Justices embrace “judicial activism” in the Brexit and other constitutional cases in a way that the Law Lords had not, and have they now repented of it? What has been the role of the Presidents in all this – what has been their relationship with Government, what powers do they have to “manage their Court”, and how has decision-making changed with the Court’s Presidents?